Maggot Times - March 2002


- A special investigation by the BBC’s Countryfile program has found that on some stretches of river as many as 100% of the male fish are changing sex and that some are completely sterile. The program has uncovered worrying new evidence over the effects of "gender-bender" chemicals in sewage effluent on fish and other wildlife. 

Studies on roach from five English rivers by Brunel University have revealed that nearly half of all male fish are changing sex and most are completely sterile 
The most worrying aspect is that chemicals that mimic the female hormone oestrogen may be getting into drinking water. The Environment Agency is so concerned about the problem it is about to announce radical proposals for upgrading all major sewage works. 

A wide range of chemicals discharged to rivers from sewers are known to disrupt the hormone system of fish and other wildlife but scientists have discovered a particular problem with ethinyl oestrodiol - the main ingredient in the contraceptive pill. 
Prof Charles Tyler, of Exeter University, said, "We cannot be sure that some of these compounds, albeit at very low concentrations, aren't getting into our drinking water." 
The official body responsible for drinking water, the Drinking Water Inspectorate, says it's confident that existing treatment methods are effective at stripping out oestrogens.








- The Countryside Alliance and the National Angling Alliance are using their newly formed partnership to take a hard line with anglers who discard the fishing tackle which is responsible for the death of thousands of swans each year. Whilst the Environment Agency has found that numbers of swan deaths caused by discarded fishing tackle are decreasing year on year, the CA/NAA is seeking a meeting with the RSPCA and the RSPB to discuss the issue. The meeting will address the issue and agree on a course of action.
Charles Jardine, Director of the Alliance’s Campaign for Angling said “Whilst the numbers of deaths caused by anglers’ carelessness is decreasing and whilst fewer than half of the 8,000 swans rescued by the RSPCA last year were endangered due to angling, this number is still too high. Anglers must be more careful”.

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- Anglers in the North East have been warned to observe regulations on the region’s rivers, streams and ditches when the annual coarse fish close season starts on March 15th.
However, the season for brown trout doesn't start until March 22 on rivers from the Tees northwards and March 25th for rivers south of the Tees.
Environment Agency water bailiffs will be especially vigilant, checking rivers regularly during the close season, which runs until June 16, to safeguard fish stocks and to ensure anglers have the correct rod licence. 
"The law is there to protect spawning fish and let eggs and fry survive. Anyone caught fishing illegally can expect us to prosecute," said Environment Agency Fisheries Management Team Leader, John Shannon. 
"During the close season, anglers can fish the region’s many stillwaters, with the permission of the owners," he said

Anglers are also reminded that current rod licences expire on March 31st. Fishing without a licence is an offence under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975. Magistrates can impose fines of up to £3,000 and ban anglers from fishing.











- Representatives of a cross-section of rural life will be running for the Countryside Alliance in this year's Flora London Marathon. 
This year's team of seven will tackle the 26 mile course for various different causes on April 14th, all of them rural. Falconry, Shooting, Hunting, Angling and Point to Point Racing are the specialities of members of the team, but city finance and organic farming will also be represented. Sir Ranulph Fiennes OBE has offered the group his "wholehearted support" and has asked that anyone who cares about the future of the countryside pledge sponsorship for their efforts.
Chief Executive Richard Burge commented, "2001 was a miserable year for rural Britain, a year from which it is still trying to recover. Recovery will be slow and many facets of rural life remain under threat, but the goodwill, dedication and commitment of our team reflects the passion that exists for the rural way of life. I thank the team for facing this challenge for such a noble cause and hope they can equal, if not better, last year's total of £60,000. I know we all wish them the best of Rural British luck".

For further information or for sponsorship forms please contact the Events Office on 01672 519470 or the Press Office on 0207 840 9220. You can also visit the CA website on to view full biographies of each runner or to print off a sponsorship form.


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