A NEW initiative is being launched to protect Solent salmon stocks.
The Environment Agency is calling on the public and businesses to play a role in safeguarding their future.
The new Salmon Watch campaign is part of the Environment Agency’s crackdown against fish theft and illegal angling.
Since a previous anti-poaching campaign was launched across Hampshire in October, Environment Agency Fisheries Officers have arrested or cautioned five poachers.
They were caught fishing illegally as a direct result of reports from the public.
Tim Sykes of the Environment Agency, said: ‘We are absolutely committed to eliminating illegal fishing and we will have no hesitation in prosecuting those who commit fish crime to the fullest extent of the law.
‘It is of great concern that salmon numbers are down in part due to fish theft.’
Rivers in Hampshire are world famous for their salmon populations but numbers are sadly well below their conservation target.