NRW officers send clear message on illegal salmon fishing
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the courts have sounded a clear message that the illegal wild salmon fishing in Welsh rivers won’t be tolerated following the successful prosecution of two men for fishing offences.
Carlos Davies and Mateusz Kakolewski from Brecon have jointly been fined more than £4,000 at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court for the illegal fishing of wild salmon on the River Usk.
In October 2020 a NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officer was contacted by members of the local angling community and made aware that Davies and Kakolewski’s had posted images on each of their social media accounts showing them holding up three dead salmon.
An investigation followed, where it was established that the images were taken on the right bank of the River Usk just below the dual carriageway bridge outside Brecon.
NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers worked alongside their Dyfed Powys Police seconded Police Officer who successfully applied for a search warrant for both Davies and Kakolewski’s home addresses in Brecon to try and obtain evidence in relation to the posted images.
Both Davies and Kakolewski’s properties were searched, and evidence which included salmon cutlets, fish eggs and fishing equipment were found and seized. Both men were subsequently interviewed at Brecon police station and reported by NRW for fisheries offences.
The salmon cutlets and fish eggs were forensically examined by NRW’s fisheries scientist, identified, and presented in court as evidence.
On 16 February 2022 at Merthyr Tydfil Magistrates Court.Mateusz Kakolewski pleaded guilty to offences in contravention of the Salmon Act 1986 Sec 32 – Handling Salmon in Suspicious Circumstances and was fined a total of £2,134 including costs.
Carlos Davies failed to attend his original trial date and an arrest warrant was issued by the court. Davies eventually appeared before magistrates on 23 February 2022 after surrendering to an arrest warrant and pleaded guilty to offences in contravention of the Salmon Act 1986 Sec 32 – Handling Salmon in Suspicious Circumstances and was also fined a total of £2,134 including costs.
Jeremy Goddard, NRW Waste and Enforcement Team Leader for Mid Wales, said:
“The prosecutions of Carlos Davies and Mateusz Kakolewski sends a clear message that the illegal fishing of wild salmon in Welsh rivers won’t be tolerated
“Following a public consultation in 2017, and an Inquiry in 2019, Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, confirmed rod and net fishing byelaws ensuring any salmon caught in all rivers in Wales must be returned alive to the water with minimum injury and with minimum delay. This legislation now prohibits the killing of all salmon from any river in Wales.
“NRW Enforcement Officers, the local police forces and the courts take such incidents of wildlife crime very seriously. This case shows any information in relation to illegal activity will be investigated, and if found, offenders will be prosecuted.
“We would like to thank Dyfed Powys Police, The Wye and Usk Foundation and members of the local angling community for their help in making this a successful prosecution.”
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.
For information on fishing in Wales visit the NRW website: https://naturalresources.wales/days-out/things-to-do/fishing/?lang=en