River Esk poaching: trust moves to catch the fishing criminals

River Esk, Whitby. w171201b Tuesday 21 March 2017. Picture: Ceri Oakes
River Esk, Whitby. w171201b Tuesday 21 March 2017. Picture: Ceri Oakes

The Yorkshire Esk River Trust (YERT) has been busy since the last report, to tackle the problem of illegal fishing and netting of salmon and sea trout on the River Esk.

And today, the group outlines the action taken during the past six weeks. There has been an encouraging flow of intelligence into the Whitby area project which has been shared with North Yorkshire Police and the Environment agency (EA).

North Yorkshire Police has allocated a dedicated officer to the project and joint patrols have been conducted with all the locations identified as probable illegal netting hotspot visited.

While patrolling, it became evident that several operation Traverse warning signs had been removed and taken away, but these signs will be replaced.

The locations where the signs were removed have given the project a good indication as to where illegal activity is taking place and coincides with recent intelligence.

Patrols will be concentrated in these areas.

At the end of May YERT, in co-operation with the Environment Agency, completed a project to remove several abandoned nets and other netting paraphernalia from the tideway.

These items have been seized and retained by the EA. The nylon nets and other abandoned items were an environmental hazard for wildlife with the possibility of fish, fowl and mammals such as otters and deer getting trapped or ingesting the debris.

As a result of the intelligence-led work done in the early part of the season, the project partners now believe they have two major components of the enforcement puzzle in place:

1. The locations

2. The times (river flow, tide conditions)

All that is now missing is the who?

If you have any information which could assist in providing the final piece of the puzzle, please pass any information onto the EA hotline on 0800 807060 or anonymously on Crime stoppers 0800 555 111.

The YERT project was initiated during the late summer of 2017 with the initial intention of gathering intelligence and to liaise with residents and businesses who have property next to the river between the harbour and Sleights weir.