AUTHORITIES carried out a crackdown on illegal fishing activity in Poole Harbour - with assistance from a drone.

Members of the public from across the UK, including London and Birmingham, were spoken to following concerns over the illegal hand-gathering of shellfish on Monday, August 23.

Some people were gathering for recreation or personal consumption while some were suspected to be gathering the clams and cockles for commercial reasons.

In total, six warnings were issued, and one person has been reported for fisheries offences during Monday night’s operation. 

Large quantities of shellfish were seized and returned to the fishery. On this occasion no modern-day slavery offences or human trafficking offences were detected under Operaction Aidant.

Partners from the Southern IFCA, BCP Council, Dorset Marine Policing Team and the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority, with the help of a drone, were able to find and issue warnings to members of the public.

More than 30 people were spoken with during the joint-authority effort.

A spokesperson for the Southern IFCA said: “Southern IFCA are also working closely with partner agencies from the GLAA, Dorset Police and the Local Authority to ensure compliance that other offences are not being committed, although this was not Operation Aidant it is a follow on looking into similar offending in that area. Operation Aidant targets modern slavery and human trafficking in shellfish industry - Marine developments (

“It’s also important to add that officers engaged with several recreational gatherers including family groups that were complying with the rules and regulations. 

“It’s really simple- if you want to hand-gather, follow the rules and regulations [provided on the Southern IFCA website].”