Fishing tackle which has been confiscated from illegal anglers is being given a new lease of life after being donated to the Bridgend and District Fishing for the Disabled Association by Natural Resources Wales.
It is now being put to good use by the Association, which offers adults and children with disabilities a safe environment to learn to fish with specialist instructors.
For Natural Resources Wales, it’s a small mercy in the battle against illegal fishing.
Paul Frodsham, Fisheries Enforcement Officer from Natural Resources Wales said:
“We regulate fishing so that so that the sport which is loved by so many can remain sustainable and can continue to be enjoyed by future generations.
“However, there are still those who think they can flout the rules and fish without a licence, and it’s these people who are jeopardising the sport for everyone.
“While the fight against illegal fishing continues, it’s been great that we’ve been able to give something back to the community and donate the equipment to a worthy cause.
“The great thing about fishing is that it’s a sport for life, which can be enjoyed by everyone. We hope that the many visitors to the club will enjoy the opportunity to learn a new skill, while at the same time meeting new people and getting out and about in our wonderful environment.”
Ralph Merchant, Chairman of the Bridgend and District Fishing for the Disabled Association said:
“We’re often short of equipment, so the donation has been very helpful and we are looking forward to putting the equipment to good use.
“We help adults and children with a range of disabilities by teaching them how to cast a line, reel it in and net fish. Some will learn new skills and others will just enjoy a day out – the main thing is that they get to enjoy the experience of fishing.”
In its first year of operation, Natural Resources Wales caught 139 individuals committing a variety of offences ranging from not having a rod licence to illegal netting and foul hooking.
This resulted in successful prosecutions in all but three cases and total fines of £18,468 plus the confiscation of tackle and equipment.
People can report suspected illegal fishing to the Natural Resources Wales 24-hour incident hotline on 0800 807060.
The Bridgend and District Fishing for the Disabled Association provides angling opportunities for over 180 disabled children and adults each year.
It is currently looking for volunteers who can help disabled adults and children learn to fish. Any anglers willing to volunteer should contact Chairman Ralph Merchant on 01656 660683.