Alert as illegal fishing on rise along Sussex coast

Incidents of illegal "fixed engine" fishing - where a net is anchored to the sea bed - have been reported along the Sussex coast.

The Environment Agency said incidents had increased in the past few weeks and there had been a large number of reports throughout the year.

By law, fixed engines cannot be used to catch sea trout or salmon and must not interfere with them.

Nets must also be a certain distance below the surface and not near a beach.

Patrols carried out

Fisheries officer for the agency, Steve Lysyj, said there had been a large number of calls to both the agency and the Sussex Sea Fisheries District Committee about illegally-set nets.

He said officers from both organisations responded to several incidents last month including illegal fixed engines in Hastings and Eastbourne, an illegal net in Hastings, and two men found netting illegally in Hastings.

Mr Lysyj said regular patrols were being carried out in areas that were susceptible to illegal fishing activity.

Rob Clark from the Sussex Sea Fisheries committee has appealed to the public to report any suspicious activity.

He said: "We take this very seriously, and as much as we try to patrol as many areas as possible, we just can't cover all the ground we'd like."

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