Rustlers have always set their sights on valuable livestock. This even includes fish that have been grown or stocked in a commercial fishery. Just because the fish are deep in the lake or pond does not meant that the enterprising crook can not find a way to steal them.
A typical modern carp fishery will want to have a wide range of fish sizes to suit anglers of all levels of experience. In order to attract the more experienced carp fisherman the fishery will need to contain a number of big fish for the specimen hunter who will be willing to pay well for the opportunity to catch them.
The largest carp ever caught is a 94 pound specimen from Rainbow Lake in France. The fish was well known to anglers having been caught several times before during the preceding years. It had been given the name ‘Briggs Fish’ presumably after one of its captors and in common with many of these big fish was fondly thought of and fiercely sought after.
With such a well known fish in the lake this will encourage other would-be record breakers who are hoping that the fish will put on a few pounds by the next time it is caught. It is a prime candidate for breaking the magic 100 pound record barrier within a year. The fishery manager will want to beef up his security following the additional publicity that has been received.
Rustlers will sometimes risk their own lives to steal big fish. There have been reports of them dragging their nets across thin ice to reach the areas free from obstruction. They work in the dark and in hazardous conditions, just to take the fishery’s stock. The stolen carp can survive transport for a long distance just wrapped in wet sacking, much further if carried in tanks of water. Some fishery managers will pay a lot for big fish and not question where they came from.
In the UK the Environment Agency is starting to clamp down on the fish rustlers. They are about to get powers that will allow them to remove and destroy any illegally stocked fish. Stolen carp or non indigenous catfish will no longer be easily introduced to fuel the greed of a few angling crooks.
This must be advantageous, as uncontrolled stocking causes the spread of deadly fish diseases such as Spring Viremia of Carp. Angling by its nature is an environmentally friendly sport, its biggest attraction is that it allows city dwellers and country folk alike to appreciate the outdoors. When a few crooks exploit the angling world in this way it spoils the sport for everybody else.