RESIDENTS have expressed their dismay after reports that carp in a nature reserve, which had been stocked through public donations, have been caught and killed.

Locals living near Maidendale Nature Reserve, in Darlington, put money together to stock the pond with fish in a catch-and-release scheme.

However they were disheartened to hear people have allegedly been catching the fish and killing them on the banks instead of releasing back into the water.

Philip Kieran, a resident nearby, said the carp were originally donated by the owner of a nearby tackle shop to give young people in the area a nature-oriented activity to do.

The Northern Echo:

Local children with a fish they caught then released at the reserve

He said: “The owner of Wally’s Tackle Shop held a raffle and decided off his own back to raise money to put the fish into the pond to give the young people something to do, but people have started going over there and taking the fish out.

“They're over there every day fishing. If they kill them all there's going to be nowhere for the kids to enjoy.

"I can only see it’s going to get worse if nothing is done about it. I'm just trying to get as many people aware of it as possible.”

The residents have reported their suspicions to the police and the Environment Agency (EA) and investigations are ongoing.

The Northern Echo:

A fishing spot at the reserve

An EA spokesperson, said: “The Environment Agency is aware of the suspected activity at Maidendale Nature and Fisheries Reserve and in response have carried out an additional patrol of the area. We are pleased to report no illegal activity was observed and all anglers were in possession of Environment Agency licences.

“However anglers should be aware the Environment Agency will investigate any suspected illegal activity and will take appropriate action when required. It is important to remember fishing without a valid licence could land people with a fine of up to £2,500 and even a criminal record. We would always encourage anglers to practice catch and release techniques.

“We will be making further investigations and continue to closely monitor the situation."

“Money from rod licences are invested back into fisheries and used to help fund a wide range of projects to improve facilities for anglers including protecting stocks from illegal fishing, pollution and disease, restoring fish stocks and improving habitat."

  • The Environment Agency urges anyone to report illegal activity by phoning their Incident Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Calls can be anonymous.