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Monday, 15 April, 2002, 06:51 GMT 07:51 UK
Elver poachers face night patrols
Elver fisherman
Fishermen need licences to trap elvers on the Severn
Night time patrols are being launched along the River Severn to crack down on illegal elver fishing.

Poachers face up to two years in prison if they are caught trying to catch the young eels with illegal trawl nets or without a licence.

Elvers sell for up to 150 per kilogram during the brief fishing season.

For the next two weeks, police and the Environment Agency will be patrolling the river on foot and by boat.

River Severn
Fishermen catch Severn elvers at night
Illegal nets will be seized, along with elvers caught by poachers.

At this time of year, up to 400 fisherman can be found on the river banks on a single night.

It is feared that widespread plunder could force the legitimate industry into decline by reducing stocks.

Elvers have been caught on the Severn for centuries as they head up river.

They drift up the Bristol Channel after being carried from the West Indies on ocean currents.

Some riverside villages once held elver-eating competitions.


Click here to go to Bristol

Click here to go to BBC Gloucestershire
See also:

29 Dec 01 | England
Restored ferry set for cast off
20 Apr 01 | UK
A tale of two rivers
Links to more England stories are at the foot of the page.


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