Maggot Times - May 2003
The Midlands Environment Agency has issued fisheries, angling clubs and anglers with advice on how to minimise the risk of spreading Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC), following the announcement by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) that the disease has been detected at the Woodland View Fishery and Woodland View Fish Farm, Hay Lane, Hadley near Droitwich, Worcestershire.
SVC is a contagious viral disease of carp and other coarse fish which has resulted in mortality rates of up to 50% in populations of susceptible fish during previous outbreaks. There is no treatment for the disease, which may be spread from one fishery to another via movement of live fish, water or contaminated fishing tackle. It is vital that this disease does not spread to other fisheries.
Following the announcement of SVC being present at Woodland View Fishery and Woodland View Fish Farm, the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has placed a Designated Area Order on the fishery, prohibiting the movement of live fish on and off the site.
Anglers can do their bit to stop the spread of the disease to other fish populations. They should not use coarse fish as livebait or deadbait and nets and boots should be disinfected before and after fishing. Ideally, keepnets should be left at home. If someone fishes an SVC infected water, they must not leave without disinfecting their nets and equipment and equipment should be thoroughly dried between fishing trips.
In addition, the Agency reminds fishery managers that it is a legal requirement for all introductions or removals of fish (including livebait) at their fisheries have the prior written consent of the Environment Agency.
The Agency also recommends that: - any fish that are introduced to their waters have a recent valid written health check which matches the batch of fish they are about to introduce. - a temporary ban on keepnets is implemented at the discretion of individual fishery managers. - facilities for disinfection are provided at the entrance to their waters and that anglers thoroughly disinfect their nets and boots before and after fishing. - stress in resident fish stocks is reduced by avoiding high stock densities, preventing overfishing and ensuring that where keepnets are used they are of adequate size and fish are not retained in them any longer than necessary. - fishery managers check their waters regularly for signs of disease. Infected fish may be lethargic and have bleeding gills or skin, abdominal swelling or swollen eyes. If a manager thinks they may have SVC at their fishery, they should immediately contact CEFAS by telephoning (01305) 206 600.
Fishery managers can also download the booklet “Combating Fish Disease” by visiting the DEFRA web-site at http://www.defra.gov.uk/fish/fishfarm/index.htm or by emailing CEFAS at firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com. They can also contact the Environment Agency’s Fisheries and Recreation team for advice by telephoning (01543) 444 141.
Nearly 3,000 anglers were hauled before the courts last year after trying to fish without a rod licence.
The Environment Agency’s work was so thorough that 96 per cent of prosecution action was successful, resulting in fines totalling £162,205.
The courts also forced dodgers to fork out nearly £152,000 in costs.
Dave Clarke, the Agency’s Head of Fisheries, said: "It’s been a successful year for prosecutions but we’d be happier if offenders had accepted their responsibilities and bought a licence in the first place.
"Sadly some people just refuse to, they don’t care that buying a licence supports the environment, directly benefits fisheries and saves the embarrassment of a trip to a busy court.
"For those people the Agency’s message is simple, it’s the same as the one we gave 2,960 licence evaders last year: "We’ll see you in court".
Fishing without a licence can bring fines of up to £2,500.
In March, the last month for the 2002/2003 licence, the Agency successfully prosecuted 238 dodgers who were fined a total of £16,830 and ordered to pay £15,996 costs.
There were 205 successful prosecutions during April, the first month of the 2003/2004 licence. Fines came to more than £13,000 in total and costs reached £10,666.
THE green light has been given to plans to run a new 560-peg Individual National, with the first the one taking place in the Midlands this September. To celebrate its centenary year, the sport’s governing body, the National Federation of Anglers, will invite the top two anglers from each team competing in this year’s five Nationals to fish the event.
If it’s the success they expect it to be, the match will be fished every year and the plan is to create a 1000-peg Individual National in future years. Anglers who qualify will find themselves fishing for a fantastic £10,000 silver trophy and the title of NFA Individual Champion.
The new event is certain to create a surge of excitement among those competing in the current Nationals, which have witnessed a worrying decline in recent years. Indeed due to a fall in entries, the NFA is planning to reduce the number of Nationals from five to four in 2004.
To take part in what will be a hugely prestigious event, anglers will have to pay a modest entry fee of around £10 on receipt of an invitation from NFA headquarters. The winner is likely to walk away with at least £2000 in cash and if any of the anglers invited cannot make the big match, a further invite will be sent to the team’s third placed angler.
With some 280 teams competing in this year’s Nationals, it means the match should attract 560 anglers and as long as match anglers back the idea, and they look almost certain to, the NFA has created overnight the biggest individual match in the match angling calendar.
Controversial research led by Dr Lynne Sneddon of Edinburgh University on whether or not fish can feel pain will not alter the Government’s enthusiastic support for angling as a sport and pastime claimed Labour MP Martin Salter who is Parliamentary adviser to Sports Minister Richard Caborn.
Mr Salter said – “The conclusions of the Edinburgh University research team are completely at odds with a recent report from Professor James Rose of the University of Wyoming which proved that fish lack the capacity in their brains to feel pain. Scientists can argue this point until the cows come home but I have confirmed with Richard Caborn that nothing that has been published will dissuade the Government from giving both political and financial support to angling projects such as “Get Hooked on Fishing” and other schemes designed to encourage young people to take up Britain’s most popular sport.”
The Get Hooked on Fishing project in Durham is run by local police officer Mike Watson and targets young people at risk of re-offending. It has received over £70,000 in government funding via the Environment Agency, £15,000 in Lottery cash and £50,000 from the local Youth Offending Team budget.
Martin Salter and Richard Caborn have been visiting a variety of angling projects across the country over the last twelve months and are working on proposals to back the creation of new urban fisheries to provide opportunities for a new generation of young anglers. One of the projects Stoke Angling for Everyone (SAFE) has recently received a Lottery grant of £88,000 and is regarded as an example of best practice for other areas.
Martin Salter added:- “Richard Caborn is the most pro-angling Minister we have ever had as Minister for Sport and he is channelling a serious amount of money into angling. It will take more than a few scientists to dent Richard’s enthusiasm for fishing.”
Angling Governing organisations have also been responding to this latest report. Dr Bruno Broughton, a well-known fish biologist and scientific advisor to the National Angling Alliance (NAA), is unconvinced by claims that fish can feel pain.
“I doubt that it will come as much of a shock to anglers to learn that fish have an elaborate system of sensory cells around their mouths. Nor is it a surprise that, when their lips are injected with poisons, fish respond and behave abnormally. However, it is an entirely different matter to draw conclusions about the ability of fish to feel pain, a psychological experience for which they – literally – do not have the brains” he said.
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