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Restaurants Warned To Know Source Of Fish

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WALES, UK - Hoteliers and restaurant owners in North Wales are being warned by Environment Agency Wales not to buy untagged fish from poachers.

With rivers in full flow, this is a critical time for migrating salmon and sea trout making their way back upstream to spawn.

And the Agency is keeping a watchful eye, not just for poachers, but also on the places which buy illegally caught fish and sell them to their customers.

Since last year, only tagged salmon from sustainable sources can be sold to food outlets to reduce the amount of poaching.

Now the Agency warns restaurants that it will take enforcement action against anyone caught with untagged fish.

Alan Winstone from Environment Agency Wales said: “This is a vitally important part of the year for our wild stocks. If salmon are taken before they spawn a whole generation can be wiped out, devastating the local population for years.

“Restaurants who buy from poachers are as much a part of the problem as the poachers themselves. They should know that we will be checking kitchens during the next few months and already have intelligence suggesting where we should look.

“Fish like salmon and sewin are an important part of the economy in north Wales. They bring in millions of pounds to rural areas – so people who buy and sell illegally caught fish are also damaging the local economy.”

David Wainright of the Gwydyr Hotel, Betws y Coed, supports the Agency’s warning. He said: “Most restauranteurs would not dream of buying illegally caught fish – but unfortunately some will, without thinking of the wider implications.

“This can cause real damage to fish populations and the local economy – the fewer fish there are in the river, the fewer anglers will visit North Wales. It can be a vicious cycle.”

Last year Environment Agency Wales prosecuted 125 people in North Wales for fishing illegally. The figure includes anglers fishing without a licence and people using nets and other illegal equipment.