This film is part of Free


The age old battle with poachers, this time for the noble aim of protecting fish stocks in our rivers, rather than game for landowners’ hunting.

Documentary 1985 23 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The constant battle to protect fish stocks on Yorkshire’s principal river for salmon and trout, the Esk, starts at the Yorkshire Fishing Authority’s fish farm near Pickering. Having observed the workings of the hatchery, Michael Clegg joins the daring men of the YFA as they journey along the Esk, and then out on the sea near Whitby, on the lookout for rogue fishermen who, whether it is for pleasure, money, or just something for supper, are intent on flouting the regulations.

The fish hatchery at High Costa Mill, Marton Lane, near Pickering, was taken over by Northern Trout from the National Rivers Authority in 1995. The site, previously known as Costa Spring Hatchery Ltd., was originally established in 1932 to provide brown trout for rivers in the North of England. The job of regulating angling and maintaining fisheries was passed over from the National Rivers Authority to the Environment Agency when it was established in 1996. Stocks of sea trout and salmon in the River Esk reached a low point in the early 1990s, but thanks to the Esk Tideway Byelaw, passed in 1987, and the Yorkshire Esk’s Salmon Action Plan of 1999, stocks have greatly improved.