Trout fisheries in Sussex are being warned they face fines of up to £2,500 if they are found to be stocking illegal fish.

Environment Agency officers are investigating and will take action if stocking has taken place without the prior written consent of the Agency.

The regulations are designed to minimise potential damage to fisheries and the environment which could be caused by the illegal movement of trout.

Risks include the spread of fish diseases and parasites as well as increasing competition with native fish for food, habitat and spawning sites.

There is also a concern about interbreeding, because it can cause reduced fertility.

Environment manager for Sussex, Richard Hammond, said: "I know it's not always easy to keep up to date with paperwork.

"However, completing Section 30 forms is really important as it helps to protect our natural brown trout."

Friday June 6, 2003