NRW enforcement officers tackle ‘barbaric’ illegal fishing

Natural Resources Wales fisheries enforcement officers have been busy tackling a spate of ‘barbaric’ illegal foul hooking incidents which have taken place on the River Loughor.

Six men have been fined more than £2,200 each at Swansea Magistrates Court for two separate incidents of illegal foul hooking/snatching fishing offences.

Phungan Nguyen, of Brecon, Vin Vinh Nguyen of Ystrad Mynach and Hung Le of Swansea, pleaded guilty in court and all three admitted deliberately using the illegal foul hooking techniques to catch fish from the River Loughor in June 2021.

The trio were observed by NRW Enforcement Officers, deliberately using the illegal foul hooking/snatching method to catch different species of fish. This was following several reports from members of the public regarding suspicious activity of illegal fishing taking place under the A484 Loughor to Llanelli road bridge.

Phungan Nguyen, Vin Vinh Nguyen were each fined £400, ordered to pay costs of £1,800 each and also a £40 victim surcharge each.

Hung Le was fined £300, ordered to pay costs of £1800 and also a victim surcharge of £34.

All the men’s fishing equipment and the fish in their possession were seized by the NRW Enforcement Officers.

In a separate incident, Swansea residents Joseph Arran Davies, Corey Charles Gilbert and Ryan Lee Jenkins pleaded guilty in court and admitted deliberately using the foul hooking/snatching method of fishing on the River Loughor in April 2021.

The three men, who were seen by NRW Enforcement Officers using the illegal fishing method under the A484 road bridge, appeared at Swansea Magistrates Court, where Joseph Davies and Ryan Jenkins were each fined £300 and ordered to pay costs of £1,800 each and a £34 victim surcharge. Corey Gilbert was fined £200 and ordered to pay £1,800 in costs and a £34 victim surcharge.

Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said:

“We would like to thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.
“The use of this barbaric and totally unethical form of fishing is being carried out by a minority of anglers.
“it is not only indiscriminate on what species or size of fish that are killed, but untold damage is also inflicted to fish by the anglers who use this method using deliberately tampered standard fishing lures.
“Many oversized and multiple treble hooked fishing lures have been seized which have been used to deliberately impale fish and inflict untold damaged to them when the multiple barbed treble hooks impale into their body flesh and internal organs.
“These damaged and wounded fish can become infected and die due to the injuries sustained and then possibly in the process infect other fish species in the river catchment.
“NRW Enforcement Officers and the local police forces takes these fisheries incidents seriously as do the courts. Hopefully the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of these heavy fines issued by the courts."

PC 766 Roger Jones, Wildlife Crime Officer of Dyfed Powys Police, said:

“This prosecution is the result of a lot of determined work between Dyfed Powys Police and Natural Resources Wales.
“The foul hooking method witnessed saw each individual cast out a line with very large treble hooks on lures, which they reeled in with a fast rod-jerking method with the intent to foul hook fish in the low water tide. It is a horrible, indiscriminate, and illegal fishing method.
“We are actively targeting the Loughor Estuary because of cases such as these, so we’re pleased they have received heavy fines and had all their rods and other kit seized.”

For information on fishing in Wales visit the NRW website: Natural Resources Wales / Fishing

if you see any suspicious or illegal activity on our rivers, lakes and reservoirs, please report it to the NRW incident hotline on 0300 065 3000.