Illegal anglers are being warned to obey the law or face prosecution after spot checks led to the discovery of 157 offences over three months.
Enforcement patrols in Yorkshire carried out during the coarse fish close season, which runs from March 15 to June 15, led to the discovery of 18 offences relating to fishing out of season, and another 139 offences that mostly involved fishing without a licence.
In May alone, 23 illegal anglers were prosecuted in Yorkshire.
Peter Mischenko, the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Technical Officer, said: “Generally speaking, anglers in Yorkshire are compliant with the law, but we are still out there carrying out spot checks, and we do find people fishing illegally.
“Many of these offences are committed by the angler not having a licence, and we have also caught people coarse fishing during the close season. Both of these types of offences are crimes, and those who are caught will face appropriate enforcement action: they could be fined or banned.
“The coarse fishing close season exists to allow the fish time to breed and spawn and so maintain a healthy stock of fish. When people ignore it, they are putting fish stocks at risk.”