Maggot Times - March 2003
Carp stocks in Britain could have been put at risk by two smugglers who tried to import more than 1.8 tonnes of diseased fish into the country, a court heard. Mark Dallas and Lee Coles failed to notify the authorities about a consignment of 262 large carp - some contaminated with a virus - but were caught at Folkestone after they came through the Chanel Tunnel.
The seizure was the largest ever of illegally imported live fish.
If the cargo had not been discovered, the consequences could been disastrous, Maidstone Crown Court heard.
Paul Feldberg, prosecuting, said the particular strain of the disease Spring Viraemia of Carp (SVC) had never before been seen in this country.
An outbreak could wipe out up to 80% of an affected stock - including the valuable Koi carp commonly found in garden ponds.
Mark Dallas, 37, of The Bungalow, Old Woodham Road, Battlesbridge, trading as Premier Fish Supplies, admitted illegally import importing the fish.
The court heard he had two convictions for similar offences.
Large profits were to be made at the cost of potentially devastating effects to the environment
Judge Warwick McKinnon
The maximum penalty is two years in jail. Dallas was sentenced to a nine-month suspended term.
His co-defendant Lee Coles, 29, of Melbourne Avenue, Chelmsford, who also pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 100 hours' community service.
Work on a massive new £2million clean-up for the River Calder is set to start later this year.
United Utilities' environmental scheme will mean that all the waste water being discharged into the river will be treated to the highest standards.
The scheme is aimed at stopping untreated sewage overflowing into the river at times of heavy rainfall.
At present waste water from Burnley and Padiham is transferred through sewers to the Wood End waste water works where it is treated before being discharged into the River Calder.
However, in times of prolonged and heavy rain the waste water, including untreated sewage leaks into the river.
United Utilities project manager Stuart Charnley said: "If the work gets the go-ahead people will be able to look at the river when we've finished and notice a big improvement. Sewage debris will become a thing of the past."
The Burnley scheme is part of a £3billion environment and water improvement programme being carried out across the north-west until 2005.
The Burnley work will see powered screens fitted to parts of the water system which can rise up at times of heavy rain to filter out sewage and is likely to take around 9 months.
More rod licence cheats were in the dock last month (Feb) as the Environment Agency carried out 159 successful prosecutions.
Fines totalling £7,423 were handed out and the courts awarded costs of £7,935 to the Agency. Each offender was, on average, out of pocket to the tune of £96.
Dave Clarke, the Agency’s Head of Fisheries, said: "The number of prosecutions last month were lower than in January.
"Court action generally reflects the amount of checking we carry out albeit with a time lapse. As a result fluctuations in the numbers of people in court reflect trends that took place many months before.
"Our checking patterns are geared to follow the numbers of people fishing and are focussed largely on the early part of the fishing season.
"However we do have a presence throughout the year. The prosecutions we are seeing now, the result of action during quieter periods, are proof of this."
Buying a licence couldn’t be easier – there are around 17,000 Post Offices and other outlets which sell them direct; and for a small additional charge they can be purchased over the phone (0870 1662662) or on the Environmental Agency's website: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/subjects/fish/399730/
The British chub record has been beaten with an 8lb 13oz fish from the River Lea (Lee), a tributary of the Thames. An exclusive deal has been signed with Angler’s Mail, and the fish will be pictured in this week's issue.
The current chub record is 8lb 10oz, a fish caught from the River Tees at Blackwell in 1994.
Discovery Home & Leisure will be searching for the next face of fishing at this year's Go Fishing show at the NEC, Birmingham from 28 March - 30 March. Auditions will be held on the Discovery Home & Leisure stand B70 at the show. Simulating a real TV environment, potential presenters will be filmed as they read from an autocue and televised live on a giant plasma screen where other visitors can watch their efforts! Judged by Discovery Home & Leisure, the lucky winner will net themselves a part on the channel in 2003. Sure to reel in the visitors, fishing legends Paul Young, Mick Brown and Jeremy Wade will be on the hand to answer fishing queries, swap bait secrets and even compare fish tales. Paul will be on the stand on Friday, Mick on Saturday and Jeremy on Sunday. What's more, there will also be a chance to win a day's fishing with Zander guru Matt Hayes. Visitors will also be given sneak previews of Discovery Home & Leisure's two new fishing programmes - Predators, a chilling ten part series in April that gets the low down on predatory fish and The Great Rod Race, a fifteen part series starting in May that takes up the challenge to catch every species of freshwater fish found in Britain at different locations in just 30 days. This road trip challenge is taken on by Matt Hayes and Mick Brown
AN American professor, has completed the most comprehensive study ever carried out on nervous systems and responses of fish, and has proved that fish do not feel pain. The academic study is the work of Professor James Rose (60), a professor of zoology and physiology at the University of Wyoming. Professor Rose said: "We compared the nervous systems and responses of fish and found that their brain is not sufficiently developed to allow them to sense pain or fear. The awareness of pain depends on functions of regions of the cerebral cortex which fish do not possess."
This is the largest study into piscine neurology ever carried out and represents a massive set-back for anti-angling groups like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) who boast they have £2million to spend to see that angling is banned in the UK.
Professor Rose has also attacked previous studies (like the Medway Report) that indicated fish can feel pain. "They confused nociception (responding to a threatening stimulus) with feeling pain" said Professor Rose.
NFA President Ken Ball commented: "Although the Study has only confirmed what we all know, it is a great victory for the sport in the sense that the animal rights activists must now look elsewhere; our victory is a knockout blow for the American branch of PETA who must accept these findings as conclusive proof that fish do not feel pain."
Martin Salter MP, the Parliamentary spokesman for angling said: "This Report is terrific. It will help nail the lie that fish feel pain."
Bob Clark, NFA, Membership Services Manager, agreed: "At last the sport has got the up-to-date scientific support it needed. All anglers know that fish don't feel pain but many people out there need convincing. I can see this Study resulting in thousands of people taking up the sport and many commentators, who have previously had their doubts about angling, changing sides and giving us the publicity the sport deserves."
The academic Study will be great news to potential sponsors who have previously had mixed feelings about putting their brand name behind the sport. "Some school teachers have had mixed views about angling but the in-depth Report by Professor Rose, has given angling the green light and a clean Bill of health." commented Bob Clark.
SURREY based RMC Angling have agreed to be joint sponsors of the 5th World Carp Classic taking place from April 23-27, 2003 on the France’s Lac Amance Complex in the Foret D'Orient. Last year saw the competitors net almost a ton of prime carp and with the 2003 event scheduled to take place during the prime spring months, the organisers are anticipating the record books being re-written this time around. With a guaranteed £10,000 first prize and £25,000 in total prizes, there is everything to fish for and as an added incentive RMC Angling are offering two of their coveted Gold Cards, valued at £1,000 apiece, to the top British pair. Places are strictly limited and are allocated on a first come, first served basis with a price of £275 per person. In addition there is also the opportunity to join up with two additional pairs to create a team, opening up the opportunity to win even more prizes. Team entry costs £210 per team with a free runner also allowed with every team entry. For further details or to book your place contact the organisers on 01239 827000.
"YOU won’t give us the slip" is the Environment Agency’s message to criminals dumping toxic oil in Leeds’ rivers.
The warning has been issued following a spate of incidents of oil and petrol polluting both the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Rodley.
The Aire has been affected three times in as many weeks – the most recent occurring on Wednesday (February 26). Environment officers believe the pollution is being dumped in Hol Beck which flows into the Aire on the upstream side of Victoria Bridge, Neville Street, near the railway station.
Kevin Judd, a member of the Agency’s environment management team, said: "The pollution is toxic to wildlife as well as being unsightly and smelling unpleasant. It is also a nuisance to residents and businesses on the waterfront."
He added the Agency, the government body charged with protecting the water environment, had launched a full investigation into the incidents.
"We believe that someone is deliberately tipping waste oil down a drain that then empties into Hol Beck. This is serious pollution having a serious impact on Leeds city centre.
"The person responsible is behaving selfishly with no regard to the environment or the wider community. It is important that people realise that, if they tip something down a drain, there is a high probability that it will end up in their local watercourse.
"They should also realise that it is an offence to place polluting materials in a watercourse and that this is punishable by a fine of up to £20,000 and/or three months imprisonment."
A large number of trading estates in the area have drainage that discharges into Hol Beck. These include Latchmoor Road Industrial Estate, Copley Hill Trading Estate, Domestic Street Industrial Street, Gelderd Trading Estate, and Emmanuel Trading Estate.
The Agency is currently investigating whether the pollution originates from premises at these locations. Mr Judd added that officers’ efforts were being hampered by the fact the watercouse is below ground for much of its length.
On the Leeds-Liverpool Canal at Rodley, Leeds, mindless vandals have been blamed for spreading an oil spill which the Environment Agency had brought under control.
The Agency laid oil booms across a stretch of the canal to contain a quantity of diesel which had found its way into the water through a drainage system.
But under cover of darkness, vandals freed the booms by untying ropes before the Agency had chance to skim the oil off the surface. Now the pollution has spread nearly 1,000 metres along the canal.
The oil is spread so thinly across the surface of the water it may be virtually impossible to clean up.
The Agency’s Enforcement Officer Nick Reynolds said: "This is just wanton vandalism which has resulted in the diesel oil being spread over a much larger area and creating an increased hazard to the environment.
"The Agency had managed to bring the spill under control and was in the process of bringing in a special vacuum pump to skim the oil off the surface of the water.
"Whoever freed the booms has put the wildlife of the canal in danger. Although the oil is unlikely to kill any fish, it could have a major effect on invertebrate life.
"This incident has happened in an area labelled a Site of Special Scientific Interest and householders have told us that a lot of the wildfowl that used to visit the canal have disappeared as a result."
Now the Agency is appealing to anyone who has any information about any of the pollution incidents to contact them, in confidence, on 0800 80 70 60.
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