Protecting the River Exe fishery, Exeter

Devon & Cornwall Police has been working in partnership with the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency as part of Operation Clampdown 9 along the River Exe on the mixed fishery.

The close season operation held today, Thursday 25 March, involved collaborative working to combat illegal activity, including illegal fishing, on the River Exe, while ensuring that fisheries enforcement is effective, in turn reassuring anglers that the river is protected.

The stretch of the River Exe which runs through Exeter city centre comprises a mixed fishery with coarse and game fish.

Members of the Angling Trust’s Voluntary Bailiff Service (VBS) take a ‘good citizen’ approach, reporting suspected illegal activity they come across during their patrols. Addressing anti-social behaviour in and around the surrounding green areas is extremely important, given their popularity for socialising and exercising.

The VBS members and the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Enforcement Officers have intimate knowledge of the River Exe and Operation Clampdown 9 involved them patrolling the area alongside police officers. The Environment Agency officer teamed-up with the police drone operator to offer advice on the best place to search overhead, using technology to fulfil the objective of ensuring public safety in the area.

Nevin Hunter, the Angling Trust Regional Enforcement Manager for South West England, said: “Members of the VBS are committed to supporting the Environment Agency, ensuring that the close season for fishing is respected while also supporting the police to ensure that anti-social behaviour in and around green spaces is minimised.

“Today represents part of our ongoing commitment to our partners and we will continue this through the close season and beyond so that anglers and other members of the public can maximise their enjoyment of the wonderful public space provided on and around the River Exe.”

PC Martin Beck, Rural Affairs Officer for Devon and Cornwall Police, said: “Operation Clampdown 9 is about our ongoing commitment to working with partners to ensure that illegal fishing is addressed and that the public know we are working together to maximise the safety and enjoyment of the area for all.

“Working with a small team of officers and a drone operator, supported by the Fisheries Enforcement Officer and members of the VBS, we covered significant areas along the River Exe and.”

Fisheries Enforcement Officer, Nick Maye, added: “Working together, we can address illegal fishing while addressing wider illegal activity that can be associated with green spaces.

“Working with the police today has enabled us to broaden police officer understanding of our role, the support provided by the VBS and how our local knowledge can massively benefit them in their work. Everyone benefits from this approach.”