Maggot Times - February 2003

Return of Barbel to the River Stour
18 February 2003


The Environment Agency, in partnership with local Angling organisations, are releasing 2500 Barbel into the River Stour. The stocking will take place on February 20 at 5 sites across the River, from Brundon Mill to Nayland.

Historically it is believed that Barbel were present in the River Stour, but numbers had reached a low level probably due to modifications to the river and loss of suitable habitat. The Environment Agency aims to make the population sustainable with a phased stocking programme and environmental enhancements.

This is the second phase of Barbel stocking in the River, last year 3600 Barbel were released at a number of sites from Stoke-by-Clare to Boxted. The Barbel being released have been marked with a coloured dye in one of their fin rays so that their future growth, survival and movement can be monitored.

The sites chosen were identified by Dr Paul Garner, in a study commissioned by the Environment Agency, and will ensure suitable habitat for all life stages of the Barbel. Furthermore a series of habitat improvements are planned for this year to enhance spawning and fry habitat for Barbel and other fish species in the river.

The River Stour is the only river in Essex with the potential for a thriving Barbel population. Anglers welcome the opportunity for a river Barbel fishery in this area and are working in partnership with the Agency to ensure the long-term success of this project.


Fish Kill in Lincolnshire
17 February 2003


More than 1,000 fish have died after a major pollution mishap in Lincolnshire. The Environment Agency says 10 miles of the River Slea near Sleaford have been polluted by pesticide.

The incident happened on Sunday between Sleaford and South Kyme.

Peter Clarricoates, a retired Environment Agency worker who lives in the area said:

"It is a complete wipe out and something very nasty has gone through there, it looked like something more deadly than a gallon of paint thinner, that's for sure.

"I have seen dead fish and eels all over - everything in the river seemed dead,"

The river was stocked with dace, pike, roach and trout, he said.

The Environment Agency is cleaning up the river after the category-one incident.

The exact source of the pollution is not yet known.

Other eyewitnesses reported seeing hundreds of dead fish lying on the riverbed over an extended length of the river.

Headline: Fish Don't Feel Pain
Date: 10 February 2003


The biggest ever study into fish neurology has found that the brain of a fish is not developed enough to feel pain or feel fear.

James D Rose, 60, a professor of zoology and physiology at the University Of Wyoming, USA, has published the report in the American academic journal ‘Reviews In Fisheries Science’ and has compared the nervous systems and responses of fish and mammals and found that pain is an emotional or psychological response controlled by a part of the brain that is not present in fish.

He said that previous studies that claimed that fish do feel pain were confusing the emotion with the fish’s ability to detect when it had an injury.

Professor Rose stated: “A person who is anaesthetised in an operating theatre will still respond physically to an external stimulus but will not feel pain.

“There are people who aren’t comfortable with my findings but even those who don’t accept them have yet to raise any scientific challenge.”


Headline: A.C.A. Membership Increasing
Date:     05 February 2003


SINCE Chris Tarrant took over as president of the Anglers’ Conservation Association, a total of 980 new members have joined up and the organisation says it has enjoyed a whirlwind few months.

Indeed, since Chris took over at the top, ACA staff have attended 26 events and given evening presentations to 14 clubs.

On the legal front, the ACA says it has been extremely active recently, issuing court proceeds on nine cases for pollution on rivers from South Wales and Cumbria to Northern Ireland, not to mention canals in Cheshire and lakes in Kent.

There are a further 25 cases on its books while more than 40 members are currently seeking legal advice on fishery and environmental law problems.

A landmark case recently involved the River Dove in the heart of the Peak District, the river which The Compleat Angler author Isaak Walton marvelled at.

Sheep dip pollution killed the invertebrates in the river, destroying the food the fish feed on. This made the pollution difficult to detect since there are not thousands of dead fish floating down the river, rather an absence of fish over a period of time.

The case, in which the ACA recovered substantial damages, is important because it is the first time it has brought a court case and won damages for pollution from sheep dip.

Bob James of the ACA said: “This represents major progress in the campaign that the ACA has been running for a number of years to highlight the damage to rivers from sheep dip. It sends out the message that farmers must dip their sheep safely and comply with all legislation otherwise they will face an action for compensation by anglers.”

Headline: Angling MP 'completely misleading'
Date:     05 February 2003


Labour MP and angling spokesman, Martin Salter, has fallen foul of his own
promises over the Government's Hunting Bill. At the end of last year Mr.
Salter said the Bill set unfortunate precedents for angling and that "in my
judgements those tests (utility and cruelty) could easily be used against
lots of other sports". He vowed to delete that section of the Bill but last
week welcomed news that Labour backbenchers had "tightened up" the tests,
potentially increasing the threat to fishing.

Charles Jardine, Director of the Countryside Alliance Campaign for Angling
said: "Martin Salter has claimed 'the utility test can only be applied to
forms of pest control' which is completely misleading. The concerns about
this Bill, as he himself has highlighted, are that it would set a precedent
that could be very dangerous for angling. The amendments have just made the
situation worse.

"We all know that groups like Pisces and PETA are determined to see angling
banned and RSPCA Director General, Jackie Ballard, has recently made her
dislike of coarse fishing clear. Animal rights campaigners will seek to have
the same tests applied to fishing that are proposed for hunting, which would
see most of our sport banned. Only angling that could show 'it is pest
control' would pass the tests. It won't happen tomorrow but these people
will never stop. This is about securing angling for our children and our
children's children".



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