Illegal fishing by anglers in the West Midlands left them facing thousands in fines last year.
Exclusive figures obtained under freedom of information laws show there were 398 prosecutions in our region in 2018/19.
Some 98 per cent of those – or 392 – were successful, leading to fines totalling £62,893.
The average fine handed out was £160.
In 2017/18, there were 378 successful prosecutions leading to £62,190 in fines.
The prosecutions were brought by the Environment Agency, who also issued 19 cautions in the West Midlands in 2018/19.
Anglers need a rod licence to fish in most rivers in Britain. But they also need to follow a number of rules.
Offences that can constitute “illegal fishing” include attempting to catch fish in a prohibited area and fishing for coarse fish or eels with more than four rods and lines at the same time.
It also includes leaving an unattended rod and line in the water, fishing for salmon during the close season and fishing for trout other than with an artificial fly or lure.
The data, provided by the Environment Agency, shows all prosecutions in courts in England.
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Nationally, there were 1,691 prosecutions, of which 97 per cent – 1,638 – were successful.
The total amount of fines issued by the courts in 2018/19 was £201,977.
Overall, this is a decrease compared to the previous year, when there were 2,257 prosecutions, of which 2,187 were successful.
In 2017/18, £323,033 was collected in fines, while £335,886 was collected in 2016/17.
The Environment Agency also sent 119 cautions last year, down from 160 in 2017/18.
According to the Environment Agency, illegal fishing remains a threat to game and coarse fish stocks in England and the fisheries they support.
The Environment Agency regularly patrols rivers to deter and detect poachers, as well as responding to reports of illegal fishing where there is a credible threat to fish stocks and where they have a realistic chance of apprehending the alleged offenders.