The Environment Agency could call for new laws to prevent the influx of eastern European workers plundering UK lakes and streams of their fish stocks, a spokesman said today.
Angling clubs across the country are becoming concerned that workers from Poland and other new European Union countries do not understand the angling culture of this country.
And they fear that the immigrants will over-fish lakes and rivers, taking their catches home to eat rather than return species such as carp and other coarse fish back to the water.
The concerns have led the Test Valley Angling Club to put up signs in five eastern European languages, including Polish and Latvian, at the Little Testwood Lake near Southampton, Hants.
The signs state that the lake is privately owned and fishing for consumption is prohibited. Andy Thomas, fishing technical specialist for the Environment Agency Hampshire, said the problems had arisen because of a cultural misunderstanding.
He said: "It is a nationwide issue where these people are from a different culture and have a different way of fishing.
"They are used to fishing to bring something home for their dinner while local anglers will weigh their catch, photograph it and put them back in.
"It is a case of lost in translation and I think there is a need for education and tolerance on both sides so we can overcome this problem.
"At the moment it appears to be more of a perceived problem than an actual problem, there aren't hoards of people plundering our inland waters.
"We are hoping that through raising awareness we can overcome this, but the Environment Agency is considering new legislation, but we hope it won't come to this.''
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