THE owner of The Admiral Rodney, Criggion, Powys was found guilty last week at Welshpool Magistrates’ Court to a charge of handling a wild salmon in suspicious circumstances.
The charge was brought by the Environment Agency under the Salmon Act 1986. She was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay costs of £1,000.
For the Environment Agency, solicitor Dean Easthope told the court that, as the government body responsible for enforcing and regulating fisheries legislation, the Environment Agency regularly inspects the salmon fishery on the River Severn.
On 13 May 2008, fisheries bailiffs carried out a routine inspection at the Admiral Rodney, Criggion. The purpose of the inspection was to check for the presence of wild salmon and, if present, to establish whether they had come from a legitimate source.
On inspection of The Admiral Rodney wild salmon was found in a freezer. No receipts or vendor details were available for inspection. Angela Turner admitted that she had bought the 27lb fish from an unidentified man for £40. As a wild fish of that weight would normally cost over £200, Mrs Turner should have been suspicious of the source of the fish.
Speaking after the case, Environmental Crime Team Leader Al Watson said: "The Environment Agency works hard to protect our precious stocks of salmon from poaching. Mrs Turner bought this fish without finding out where it came from.
“New rules this year prohibit anglers from selling rod-caught salmon and any legitimately net caught wild salmon must have an Environment Agency unique tag attached. Those buying fish should be aware that they could be prosecuted as well as the poachers. Anybody who needs advice or has information on illegally caught or traded salmon should contact the Environment Agency on our free 24 hour Incident Hotline 0800 80 70 60."Senior Fisheries Technical Specialist Charles Crundwell added: "Every wild salmon taken deprives the river of many thousand potential young salmon. Stocks are under threat due to a number of factors and I would urge all anglers to return any salmon that they catch to help ensure the future of the species."