A number of organisations, including the Environment Agency, CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) and the Angling Trust have joined forces with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and police forces across the country to highlight the many problems with criminals operating in rural communities.
Crimes are as diverse as the rural environment itself, ranging from theft of fish to public health issues and destruction of Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Sussex Police is the latest force to join the project and, with the three-month close season for river fishing starting on March 15, have launched Operation Traverse to encourage all users of the countryside and particularly anglers to help tackle the problems.
Wildlife Crime is often seen as a less serious issue than other rural crimes which is why it’s vital to raise awareness of the actual scale of it, and the potentially irreparable damage to the ecology and species sustainability.
It’s also important to recognise the extent to which organised crime is driving the exploitation of the environment and damaging legitimate businesses such as fisheries.