Environment Agency catch stroke haulers targeting salmon and seatrout.
Two men have been found guilty of illegally removing salmon and seatrout from the river Aln on Northumberland.
A result of an Environment Agency investigation, the pair were witnessed by officers using the illegal technique known as stroke hauling to catch fish on the waterway.
Craig Dunlop, (32), of Miller Hill, Dalkeith, Midlothian, pleaded not guilty to three charges of using an illegal instrument and David Rutherford (46) of Hipsburn Crescent, Lesbury, Alnwick, pleaded not guilty to four charges of using an illegal instrument at Newcastle Crown Court on November 7.
The men were fined £500 per offence and ordered to pay £1000 costs each to the EA. Their fishing equipment was also forfeited.
The EA built a case against the individuals after officers set up a surveillance operation on the river following a tip-off that stroke hauling was being used in the area.
Under surveillance Rutherford and Dunlop was seen to use a stroke haul to hook fish and return them to the water on a number of occasions.
One migratory fish was killed and ten were seen to be foul hooked and landed to be released.
Stroke hauling is a method used to catch fish which involves casting a hook and line into the river and trying to impale the fish anywhere in its body then drag it to the bank. It is an offence to land and keep any migratory fish that has not been hooked in the mouth.