Saturday, 29 May 2010

Illegal gill net found on River Welland

GRISLY: Dead bream tangled in a gill net

A pike angler out for a trip on his boat today found a discarded gill net which had killed more than a dozen bream.

Phil Brown, Peterborough regional organiser for the Pike Anglers Club, made the shocking find downstream of Crowland Bridge, on the River Welland.

"When I went past it, I thought it was a dead sheep in the water," he said. "On closer inspection, I could see they were dead fish, about a dozen of them in a net.

"We tried to get it out but it was stuck to some kind of gate."

PAC members made contact with Angling Times journalist Greg Whitehead, and took him out to photograph the grim remains, which were floating just beyond the margins of the river (left).

"It was about 15ft long, a gill net made from thin monofilament," said Greg. "There were 15 or so decent-sized dead bream in it, they were quite old, they'd been in there for a while.

The Environment Agency was immediately informed of the discovery.

"The EA didn't come out - they said they wanted to stake it out," said Greg.

The net was snagged to a sunken gate. It could have drifted downstream after breaking free from where it was staked out further upstream, or possibly those who set it did not return to claim their catch.

The stretch of the Welland where it was found has suffered a marked and as yet unexplained decline as a pike fishery in recent seasons.

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