Record numbers of fish stocked by Environment Agency

8 May

ENGLISH anglers were celebrating news that the Environment Agency produced a record amount of fish last year.

Just one of the many stock fish produced at Calverton Fish Farm.
Just one of the many stock fish produced at Calverton Fish Farm.

A whopping 520,819 fish from Calverton Fish Farm were stocked in 2018 compared with 358,552 the previous year, the Environment Agency has revealed.

But as Angler’s Mail recently reported, rod licence payers in Wales are very short changed. Their new government body, Natural Resources Wales, refuse to pay a penny to Calverton Fish Farm and stock ZERO coarse fish despite raking in £1.24 million a year.

In England last year, Calverton Fish Farm produced 11.6 tonnes of strong healthy fish. That’s an increase of 22 per cent from 9 tonnes in 2017.

The average size of each fish also increased with an average weight of the 18-month-old fish was 45 g each – an increase of 60 per cent from 18 g in 2013.

In 2018, the fish farm also stocked out 6,905,000 advanced reared larvae into the wild. The figure increased from six million in 2017.

EA head of fisheries Kevin Austin said: “The fish and larvae produced by the National Coarse Fish Farm play an important role in the work of the Agency and its partners to restore, improve and develop sustainable fisheries in England.

“All of the fish farm’s work is funded by income from fishing licence fees so it’s great to see it setting new records for the number and weight of healthy fish it has produced for recovery and re-stocking.”

Alan Henshaw, Calverton Fish Farm team leader, said: “2018 was an exceptional year in terms of the number of fish produced.

“The size and weight of the fish has also been outstanding and we have succeeded in smashing all of our production records.

“We have achieved these record-breaking figures despite the difficult conditions that resulted from the hot, dry summer of 2018.

“While the fish grew quickly in the warmer temperatures, the team had to work hard to maintain optimal oxygen and pH conditions in the ponds.

“It is a testament to their dedication and professionalism that all their hard work paid off at harvest time.”

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One fish health rule for catfish, another rule for carp

2 May

FISH movement laws are being scrutinised after Angler’s Mail revealed huge catfish are being transferred without a single health check.

Top carp farmer Viv Shears, seen with a fish he caught himself on his own tackle, has to kill carp for fish health tests before they can be stocked..
Top carp farmer Viv Shears, seen with a fish he caught himself on his own tackle, has to kill carp for fish health tests before they can be stocked.

As Angler’s Mail revealed, big catfish are being moved by the Environment Agency and the Catfish Conservation Group – but no fish health checks are being done since the abolition of the Section 30 consent.

Viv Shears, owner of fish farm VS Fisheries, revealed he has to routinely kill dozens of healthy specimens for fish health checks.

Viv explained: “We operate under strict rules and regulations which involve regular fish health checks on our stocks in which 30 fish have to be destroyed and tested at a time.

“This is done every six months at each of the four sites where we raise fish, and additionally we have two inspections a year and have to keep accurate records of the number and weight of all fish transferred which we send to CEFAS.

“We are considered a Tier 1 operation which is low risk and other rules apply to Tier 2, higher risk, which applies to fish dealers and angling clubs,” Viv added.

Fish health reactions

Richard Clarke, secretary of the CCG, said: “When a catfish or any other species for that matter go to a fully enclosed fishery where there is no escape route with a permit to have that species, then there is no legal need for a health check.

“Catfish are not known to harbour any fish diseases although like all fish they can have parasites.

“The main one is gill maggots (ergasilus) which we would normally do a visual check for and if they are present we would only ask a fishery to have them if it is known that this parasite is already present there.

“If catfish needed to be removed from a fishery where a disease like koi herpes virus was known to be present, then they would need to be destroyed, as although, the disease doesn’t affect them, there would be a danger of spreading the virus in the transfer.

“The fisheries taking the catfish through us are fairly relaxed about the health risks and do so at their own risk, but we have never experienced any issues despite relocating many thousands,” Richard concluded.

River conservationist and Angler’s Mail columnist John Bailey says there are too many regulations.

John blasted: “In my view the fish movement regulations are really a nonsense.

“I wanted to transfer roach from stillwaters to rivers and was told I couldn’t because I might damage the river roach, but this could hardly happen when there are no roach in the river in the first place.

“In the old days, river boards used to be transferring fish all the time inevitably with excellent results, but then the fish scientists took over and now it makes stocking very difficult.

“Our rivers in East Anglia have subsequently gone into steep decline, especially for roach, under various threats like predation and water pollution and any re-stocking there has been is wholly inadequate.

“We are living in a world with too many rules and regulations and these certainly need a major rethink,” John concluded.

Environment Agency fish movement laws

  • Movements of live fish are controlled by the Keeping & Introduction of Fish Regulations 2015. These replaced Section 30 of the Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries Act 1975
  • EA issues permits to fishery owners that specify which species they can legally introduce into their fishery, and what conditions need to be met including health checks. Where they do not require a “mandatory” health check, such as in a fully enclosed stillwater with no conservation status, the fish are introduced at the owners risk.
  • In the case of non-native species, the permits state whether they are allowed to be kept, or if known specimens need to be removed from the fishery.
  • It is an offence to keep species like wels catfish without the appropriate permit.
  • The maximum fine for conviction under the Keeping & Introduction of Fish Regulations 2015 is £50,000.

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Day ticket carp is no run of the Mill catch

2 May

ALEX JAQUES knew there would be a drop in air pressure so quickly booked some time off work and caught this PB 51 lb 2 oz common carp.

Day ticket carp perfection - Alex admires his 51 lb 2 oz common.
Day ticket carp perfection - Alex admires his 51 lb 2 oz common.

Alex’s giant day ticket carp came from Old Mill Lakes near Market Rasen in Lincolnshire.

The 30-year-old field technician at Yorkshire Water said: “I keep a keen eye on the weather on an app on my phone.

“After seeing a drop in pressure was due, I managed to wangle a couple of days off work at short notice.

“I excitedly booked myself onto the Birch Lake at Old Mill and arrived just after 7 am the next day.

“I noticed the wind felt a little cold and seemed to be blowing in from the north east so after a quick lap around the lake, I decided on the Sands swim.

“This swim seemed a little bit more sheltered and was the first place to catch the sun.

“The following 36 hours of my session went without much event and the lake seemed quiet.

“Then, out of the blue, I heard fellow angler Jake Bannister celebrating in the next swim down and he certainly had as the result was a 46 lb mirror called Powers.

“This gave me a renewed confidence going into my final 12 hours fishing so I recast my rods and picked a spot at longer range, targeting the channel behind the island where the 46 lb specimen was picked up.

“Feeding regularly with a throwing stick, I wanted to get the fish feeding.

“The night dropped cold and passed without disturbance and I awoke in the morning feeling slightly deflated and admittedly a little defeated.”

Rush to strike into ‘jewel’ of a day ticket carp

Alex continued: “With just over four hours remaining and being tired, cold, hungry and full of flu, I contemplated an early pack up, but the warmth of the sleeping bag was a little too tempting.

“Suddenly I was awoken by the very welcome sound of my middle Delkim (alarm) bleeping into life.

“I raced over to the rod, missing my Crocs (sandals) as I went, so bare foot it was. I picked up the rod and immediately felt a large heavy resistance.

“My net was a little out of reach so I shouted over to regular Scott Thompson who was in the swim to my left and he very kindly dashed round to do the honours for me.

“I was in total disbelief, a UK 50 and the jewel of the lake right at death… what a massive result and a memory that will certainly last me a lifetime.

“I felt completely honoured and privileged to have caught this very special fish and I’m already planning my next visit,” concluded Alex.

Bradford, West Yorkshire-based Alex tempted his giant day ticket  carp on  a Trent Baits Shrimp snowman rig.

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Giant perch on day ticket

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61 lb day ticket common carp!

The politician namesake tempted the fish – called Lee Jackson after the former British record holder – from Strawberry Fields…

40 lb pike on day ticket

PIKERS are going to able to fish for a stunning 40 lb pike  in a northern lake – but are…

Nation’s coarse angling suffers from… lack of fish

2 May

COARSE anglers are in despair as their rod licence money is not going back to ANY restockings and fishery improvements.

Wales fishing is being held back by a lack of cash and coarse development, notably river species like barbel (pictured).
Wales fishing is being held back by a lack of cash and coarse development, notably river species like barbel (pictured).

Wales fishing opportunities and development is being held back by changes, according to anglers.

Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh equivalent of the Environment Agency, was created in 2013.

It immediately shut Welsh fish farms with no alternative arrangements put in place.

And NRW refuse to pay into the EA’s flagship Calverton Fish Farm so have zero access to any river coarse fish.

Latest Wales fishing figures show coarse anglers bought 41,321 rod licences in 2017. That produced an income of £1.24 million but not a penny goes back into coarse fish.

Nick Massey, chairman of Ynysmon AA and secretary of the Welsh Federation of Coarse Anglers, commented: “Prior to the creation of NRW we were served by the EA and had access to their expertise and funding.

“Following this a lot of the older fisheries staff were got rid of and their knowledge lost.

“With the closure of their own fish farms, and loss of access to England’s Calverton Fish Farm, stocking of coarse fish has become a thing of the past.

“In north Wales there used to be a sustainable fisheries fund where grants could be obtained but this was abolished so clubs are left to their own devices,” Nick added.

Wales fishing cash reduced

Tony Rees, former treasurer of Merthyr Tydfil AA, said: “There is definitely less money in the system than under the previous arrangements.

“The EA used to have six English Regions with Wales as the seventh and we used to be part of the general funding available.

“Now we have to depend solely on income from licences actually sold in Wales which is proportionately lower.

“While this money is ring-fenced to angling it is difficult to know how much goes on coarse angling and how much on trout and salmon.

“A lot of the money is being spent on removing barriers to migratory fish, and habitat improvement.

“There is still some money in the system but can be difficult to come by as spending is decided upon by district fisheries officers.

“One thing that has ceased is any monitoring of coarse fish stocks by things like electro fishing,” he concluded.

James Davies, treasurer of Connah’s Quay DAC in Flintshire, explained: “Here we have nothing like the Angling Improvement Fund run by the Angling Trust with money from the EA.

“Our club has an excellent mixed fishery called the Rosie Pool stocked with genuine crucians to over 2 lb.

“We have a conservation project for them which has got them breeding successfully.

“We badly need the pegs on the lake replacing but it is proving hard to find any funding towards it.

“Back in 2000 when the pegs were last done, we obtained £6,000 via the EA and were helped by the local council.

“But now this kind of money is no longer available and we cannot afford to spend any more of our own money on improvements – it’s all needed for running costs.

“Coarse fishing has certainly lost out since devolution,” James added.

A spokesman from the NRW told Angler’s Mail: “We chose not to routinely subscribe to Calverton fish production as the species in question are far less appropriate for the rivers of Wales.

“As and when we may need some fish, for example due to a pollution incident and in the event that compensation funds were available, we would consider discussing this with the EA.”

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Huge catfish was too big for the scales

29 Apr

CATFISH ace Dean Aldridge kick started his season with a bang with two huge catfish – but forgot his large scales.

Bromley, South East London-based Dean said: “It was my first session back after a winter away from the cats.

“Two cracking looking cats from a Kent lake couldn’t resist Big Cat UK Stinky Pellets fished on a block rig with a 24 mm pop-up.

“But I couldn’t weigh them as I still had my carp scales in the bag so there wasn’t even any point trying.”

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Targeting big catfish

Why? Because I’m enjoying hooking into something like the 52-pounder above, the second ’50’  I’ve had in the last couple…

Two monster 99 lb catfish!

It was a highly productive visit all round  on an Essex day ticket water for Catfish Pro consultant Dean Aldridge.…

Fishing rod licence facts revealed by Environment Agency

29 Apr

LICENCE sales dropped a further 11 per cent, latest figures from the annual Environment Agency Fisheries report show.

This year's fishing rod licence for coarse fish and non-migratory trout. It allows up to two rods, and there is a three-rod option mainly aimed at carp anglers.
This year's fishing rod licence for coarse fish and non-migratory trout. It allows up to two rods, and there is a three-rod option mainly aimed at carp anglers.

Fishing rod licence sales fell by 130,721 licences for the 2017 season part due to a new licences structure including a three rod option.

But it wasn’t all bad news as the price increase for that licence period increased revenue by a whopping 12 per cent as the EA took in an extra £2,471,026 which took income to £23 million.

The cost of a standard coarse and trout fishing rod licence rose by £3 from £27 to £30 and a full salmon fishing licence from £72 to £82.

As predicted by Angler’s Mail at the time, short term one-day and eight-day licence fishing rod licence sales fell dramatically by a huge 32 per cent, down 130,143. Prices of both rose sharply.

An EA spokesperson said: “The extra income has enabled us to improve our fishing licence sales systems and invest more money in improving fisheries this year.

“Changes in licence structures make direct comparison of different categories with the previous year difficult.

“However junior licence sales showed a marked increase as did senior sales. Junior licences were made free of charge for the first time in 2017 which may account for some of this uptake. The increase in senior licence sales in part reflects an ageing angling demographic.

“In 2017 we generated £4,427,292 more in sales than we had predicted, largely due to the rise in sales duty.

“Combined with the additional income from the previous year’s marketing campaigns we had generated an extra £4,705,390 to invest in fisheries.

“We have been successful in persuading more anglers to buy their fishing licences online with an increase of 12.25 per cent to 66.78 per cent.

“We re-recruited 3,440 lapsed anglers that generated a further £65,210 of sale.

“While many of the results we achieved this year were positive, the underlying trend of participation remains downward. We sold licences to 929,176 individual anglers a drop of 3.38 per cent in individual anglers buying licences from 2016.”

EA deputy director for fisheries Kevin Austin said: “Income from fishing licence sales is used to fund our work to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries.

“Fishing rod licence income is vital for so much of the work we do including fisheries enforcement, fish rescues, restocking, improving habitats for fish and facilities for anglers as well as working with partners to encourage people to give fishing a go.

“Having consulted with anglers we have listened to what you want and made the biggest changes to the fishing licence for decades.

“Anglers very clearly told us that they wanted a licence which lasted for a whole 12 months, irrespective of when it was bought, and this is what we have done.

“Now when you buy a fishing licence you can chose a start date up to 60 days in advance and it will run for a full 365 days rather than expiring on March 31.”

Stockings funded by fishing rod licence

The EA stocked 45,332 less fish from Calverton Fish Farm in 2017 but put out almost double the amount of fry.

And the 358,552 fish they did stock had a significant improvement on the average size and quality of the fish. Calverton also witnessed a 97 per cent breeding success rate.
The EA stocked more than 6,335,000 million advanced larvae into rivers and lakes throughout England, which is 3,635,000 more l than 2016.

Of the maturer fish stocked, grayling surprisingly made up the biggest number at 21 per cent, followed by roach at 20 per cent and chub 16 per cent.

Barbel were the joint lowest at 3 per cent alongside rudd.

No carp are produced at Calverton, which is funded by fishing rod licence income. That was due to the number of independent fish farms producing millions of carp to be sold.

Water Framework Directive

Just 42.1 per cent of water monitored under the water Framework Directive came up showing high or good quality for fish.

But the EA say the 1,935 sites tested are in the higher risk sites.

The figure had gone up slightly from 2016 figure of 41.9 per cent but 6.4 of site received a poor rating, 24.3 per cent poor and 27.2 per cent moderate.
Environmental campaigner and former barbel record holder Ray Walton said: “Despite the good and high status going up 0.2 per cent, the figures still show well over half the water habitat is of poor quality.

“The EA should make sure water firms, businesses and farmers don’t pollute the environment with strict fines and even prison sentences for the worst cases.”

Facts about fishing rod licence money

  • Funded 37,000 fishing lessons for novices.
  • Installed 61 fish passes opening up 1,128km of habitat for fish.
  • The National Fisheries Laboratory assessed fish from 56 stillwaters collected by EA officers at fish kills.
  • Supported the Riverfly Partnership monitoring macro invertebrates at 1,850 sites.
  • £284,000 of fishing licence income was distributed to 51 projects for fish protection from otters and cormorants.
  • 39 venues given otter-proof fencing. These projects attracted over £532,000 of additional match funding.

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Redmire Pool for sale – Chris Yates speaks about its past and future

26 Apr

BRITAIN’S most famous lake could be closed for fishing as the country estate it is on is on the verge of being sold.

Chris Yates, seen with the biggest carp ever from Redmire Pool, has spoken about its past and future.
Chris Yates, seen with the biggest carp ever from Redmire Pool, has spoken about its past and future.

Historic Redmire Pool is on the 120 acre Bernithan Court near Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, which is on the market with top estate agents Strutt and Parker for £3.25 million.

Redmire Pool produced three British record carp – 31 lb 4 oz to Bob Richards (1951),  44 lb to Dick Walker (1952) and 51 lb 8 oz to Chris Yates (1980) .

In recent times it has been de-silted and brought back to its former glory by Mark Walsingham.

But Mark, who also runs Ashmead, is unsure of what any new owners might do with the fishing rights.

Currently the owners receive £40,000 a year for the fishing but a new boss might stop fishing access.

Chris Yates on Redmire Pool

Wiltshire-Chris Yates told Angler’s Mail: “Redmire has to be one of the most legendary stillwaters in the world, let alone the UK.

“No other stillwater has been praised and lorded as much as Redmire.

“But it is such an insignificant bit of water at under three acres and I know anglers who have gone up to it for the first time and been underwhelmed.”

Redmire Pool today.

Redmire Pool today. According to agents Strutt & Parker: “The pool generates an annual income of about £40,000.”

Chris continued: “There will never be another carp water that will ever be as special as Redmire was. It had that magic ingredient that just can’t be reproduced.

“Those 50 little carp stocked by Donald Leney in 1934 were fast growing and became the kings and queens and gained legendary status.

“Some grew bigger than any other carp in the country, except for illegal imports.

“But overt the years the giants died and it went into decline but at great expense and expertise, Mark has restored Redmire to its former glory and with just 50 original carp like at the beginning.

“These will no doubt grow bigger with less competition but now the future of the fishing is uncertain.

“The new owner might not want weird carp anglers trampling over his land.

“But if the worst happens and the fishing is stopped, it will back to being as it was with huge carp being left alone.

“It could even be a gift to Redmire to have a break,” concluded Chris.

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London fishing session produces epic ‘one that got away’ tale

26 Apr

THE very heart of London could one day become a centre for giant catfish if an epic tale of ‘the one that got away' is any indication of the future.

London fishing adventurer Shaun Luke in the spot where he encountered the tidal Thames catfish.
London fishing adventurer Shaun Luke in the spot where he encountered the tidal Thames catfish.

London fishing tales don’t get much more incredible than what happened to the intrepid urban angler who is attempting to catch a fish from all parts of the city.

Shaun Luke’s epic London fishing mission gave him the shock of his life when he hooked a massive Wels catfish. The encounter was backed by video evidence, and it was no ordinary ‘one that got away’ yarn.

He connected with the giant when fishing the wide River Thames close to the historic Tower Bridge.

With the coarse Close Season in force on rivers, Shaun was targeting sea fish as the city’s tidal River Thames reaches. The powerful stretches have an incredibly diverse range of species, according to the time of year.

Sadly, Shaun’s monster, estimated at 6 ft long, got away into the murky, fast flowing waters when a youngster helping to land it grabbed the line near the hook… and it snapped.

Shaun, whose London fishing challenge is to catch a fish in all London boroughs in one year, was on his tenth recent visit to the Thames in the City of London (one of the 33 boroughs). Amazingly, the huge catfish gave him his first-ever City bite!

Some specialists have tipped the middle and lower reaches of the Thames to have potential to be a viable big catfish river of the future, but few anglers currently fish the daunting urban ‘tideway’.

 “Absolutely gutted” at huge fish loss

Shaun, 51, from Plumstead, South East London, told Angler’s Mail: “I was absolutely gutted when the line snapped with the fish right into the bank.

“I had been fishing at night for several hours without a bite when I decided to do some lift and dropping by hand, and within 30 seconds the fish struck.

“It shot off into the middle of the river and I only stopped it a few yards short of HMS Belfast (a giant retired Navy warship), before slowly bringing it back to the bank. When I saw the massive head, I couldn’t believe it.

“I had hooked the cat from a high bank and, although I had a dropnet, the monster was far too big to fit in it, so I walked upstream to where there were some steps which you aren’t supposed to go down.

“I could barely move as I was surrounded by about 50 spectators who joined me on the slippery staircase.”

The huge catfish, captured on video, during Shaun Luke's London fishing challenge.

The huge catfish, captured on video, during Shaun Luke’s London fishing challenge.

Shaun continued: “I had played the giant for nearly an hour and my back and arms were aching, so when these two youngsters said they were carpers and offered to help, I said ‘ok’.

“I told them to get the fish by the mouth and lift it, but sadly one grabbed the line first and it snapped.

“I was numb with shock and then the boys started giving me grief saying I shouldn’t be fishing there in the Close Season anyway, but I have checked and it is acceptable to sea fish in that tidal part of the river.

“I was using a two-hook paternoster rig with prawn on one hook and mussel with chicken skin on the other, which the moggie took.”

London fishing challenge rolls on

“I’m not giving up and I’m going back for another crack and next time I’m going back with a rubby-dubby bag,” concluded Shaun, who works as a gardener/caretaker.

Shaun recently completed the 26th borough of his London fishing challenge when he landed a tiny roach from the Grand Union Canal, within Hammersmith and Fulham.

And Shaun hopes to complete the last seven boroughs by June 21. After that he is planning a short break before his ambitious next target… catching a fish in each of the 48 English counties.

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River fishing – is it a dying art?

SOMETHING is wrong with the art of angling! Despite poles and rods made with space-age technology, accessories that are also out-of-this-world…

Angling Projects nets vital fish boost for its pioneering project

26 Apr

A STRUGGLING charity that encourages youngsters to take up fishing has received a huge bonus with the donation of prime carp and tench worth £6,000.

Angling Projects took delivery of vital new fish stocks to help its pioneering work.
Angling Projects took delivery of vital new fish stocks to help its pioneering work.

Angling Projects in Wraysbury, Berkshire, receives no official backing, and were given this most welcome boost by kind-hearted Viv Shears who runs VS Fisheries.

Angling Projects creator and owner Les Webber MBE explained: “This grew out of a recent large angling show where we had a free stand.

“We collect money in buckets that are attached to the buggies that transport people from the car parks, and this raised £650.

“Also Browning’s stall were selling hats for us signed by Bob Nudd and this brought in a further £350.

“Out of the blue we were approached by Viv and amazingly he offered us the fish worth £6,000.

“We were delighted to take him up on his kind offer and the fish have already been delivered and released.

“There were about 150 mixed carp and some tench in the 4 to 6 inch range and around 50 much larger specimens up to double-figures.

“This will boost catches now and in the future and it’s catching the fish that hooks the youngsters.

“I’d like to thank Viv and all the other anglers who donated cash for helping to keep us afloat.”

Angling Projects re-grows numbers

Les continued: “Sadly in recent times the number of groups using the scheme has declined owing to the cutbacks in funding for schools and youth clubs, although now we are attracting many more bookings from scout groups so numbers have picked up.

“I would love to think we could do something to help keep youngsters away from knife crime by giving them an interesting pastime as we also have the facility for groups to come to spend time here with on site accommodation provided.

“But of course we rely on youth organisations learning about us and having the wherewithal to bring youngsters along,” concluded Les, who has been running Angling Projects  for 43 years.

Anyone wishing to assist the project or bring groups of youngsters can contact Les via the Angling Projects website: www.angling-projects.co.uk

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Anglers start aged 8.8 years

ANGLER’S MAIL can reveal the average age you started fishing – and it was quite young! Well over 200 of…

Microplastics pollution in water threatens wildlife and people

25 Apr

NEWS that microplastics are being ingested by aquatic insects in our rivers has increased concern about the likelihood of plastic entering the food chain and possibly being a health hazard to fish and ultimately humans.

What is this three-spined stickleback really eating? Microplastics were found in all the three species of mayfly and caddis fly larvae studied.
What is this three-spined stickleback really eating? Microplastics were found in all the three species of mayfly and caddis fly larvae studied.

Recent microplastics research, the first of its kind, was undertaken in rivers in South Wales by a team of scientists from Cardiff and Exeter Universities.

They found that at least half of all aquatic insects surveyed had ingested microplastics, defined as pieces of any type of plastic debris under 5 mm in length.

This was at all sites sampled and in all the three species of mayfly and caddis fly larvae studied, regardless of whether they lived in the water column or on the riverbed.

12 million tonnes of plastics

Lead author, Fred Windsor, said: “Every year, between eight and 12 million tonnes of plastics are thought to be entering the world’s oceans, but around four million tonnes of it passes along rivers.

“In some cases, there can be over half a million plastic fragments per square metre of river bed, so ingestion by insects is very likely.

“In our study, we sampled insects upstream and downstream from sewage treatment works on the River Taff, River Usk and the River Wye, and found plastics were surprisingly widespread.

“Although we found that microplastics occurred in higher concentrations where wastewater contributed more to river flow, we found them everywhere we looked.” the doctoral student at Cardiff University added.

The reports co-author, ecologist Steve Ormerod, of Cardiff University’s Water Research Institute, said: “Urban rivers in the UK have been recovering from decades of gross pollution, but growing information illustrates that plastics are a new risk for river organisms not just in towns and cities, but even in some rural areas.

“Problems could arise from the physical effects of microplastics, from their direct toxicity or from pollutants that they transport, and plastics in insects mean that animals using them as prey could also be affected.

“At present, however, our understanding of the risks to wildlife and people is absolutely rudimentary. We need to improve this situation urgently to know how best to manage the problems,” Professor Ormerod added.

80% of microplastics via run-off

Lauren Mattingley, science officer from the organisation Salmon and Trout Conservation, commented: “Around 80 per cent of marine microplastics come from freshwater run-off, meaning there is a whole period where microplastics persist in rivers before they are flushed into the ocean

“It is essential we stop seeing rivers simply as plastic ‘couriers’ and answer the big question: what impact are these plastic particles having on life in freshwater?

“Waste water treatment plants (a large input of microplastics that come from domestic and industrial sources) are currently not designed to remove microplastics effectively, but new filtration options are being discussed.

“New research is being commissioned and investigations are being made into understanding and controlling the freshwater element of plastic pollution.

“We are now partners in the first ever coordinated global microplastics river survey with the University of Birmingham called 100 Plastic Rivers and we will begin our sampling this year on Hampshire’s River Itchen,” Laura added.

Facts about microplastic pollution

  • Discarded plastic bags, bottles and cutlery, as well as surface water run-off containing abraded road paint and bits of automobile tires, are probably contributing to microplastic pollution all along the length of freshwater rivers.
  • Other culprits include city dust, personal care products and the washing of synthetic fabrics.
  • A single wash of one polyester fleece jacket can release 1,900 plastic fibres.
  • One study estimated that 28 per cent of all microplastic came from tyre wear.
  • An estimated 17 billion plastic particles were flushed into the sea from a river catchment area in Manchester in one winter.
  • 80 per cent of marine microplastics come from freshwater run-off.
  • 83 per cent of water samples from major metropolitan areas around the world contained micoplastic.
  • A high proportion of bottled water also contains microplastic.

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Record perch brace for Angler’s Mail magazine contributor

23 Apr

AN ANGLER’S MAIL contributor has caught the biggest brace of perch to a British angler with a stunning pair of stripys scaling 6 lb 5 oz (main picture) and 6 lb 1 oz.

Darren Starkey shows his 6 lb 5 oz perch. he's just started a new regular column in Angler's Mail magazine where he'll explain all about his species hunting exploits.
Darren Starkey shows his 6 lb 5 oz perch. he's just started a new regular column in Angler's Mail magazine where he'll explain all about his species hunting exploits.

Darren Starkey was with fellow perch lover Matt Marlow ,who chipped in with a 5 lb beast in a trip to Holland. They fished with top local guide Rob Kraaijeveld.

The pair’s success came when they lure fished close to shore on the massive Haringvleit Lake near Hellevoetsluis.

Darren, 52, said: “I think I’m the World’s luckiest angler as it could have been somebody else out with Rob that day.

“After catching a once in a lifetime dream perch of 6 lb 1 oz in the morning never in my wildest dreams did I think that less than an hour later I would be holding one even bigger at 6 lb 5 oz.

“Two perch for 12 lb 6 oz is utter madness. Our target was to catch a five-pounder and we both did that.

“Over on that lake, which is a massive 15 km long flooded area of reclaimed land from the sea, 5 lb perch are realistic but two 6s is amazing.

“After a lot of research, I don’t think another British angler has caught two 6 lb perch in a day, and the guide Rob hasn’t ever had it happen with him.

“The perch came to drop shotting tactics in the shallower water near the shore with 10-15 gr shads in 5-6 ft of water.

“We caught quite a few other perch over 3 lb and PB zander of 7 lb to me.”

Darren Starkey admires his 6 lb 1 oz perch. Read Darren's new column in Angler's Mail magazine.

Darren Starkey admires his 6 lb 1 oz perch. Read Darren’s new column in Angler’s Mail magazine.

Darren continued: “The European anglers fish for the perch all-year-round as they only measure them and they are after a 50 cm fish, which these will be at anytime of the year but they were at their heaviest when we went.

“I can really recommend Rob as a guide to anyone who wants to aim for a 5 lb perch but this time of the year (early spring) is the best time to go for the fish at their heaviest. These two 6s will still be over 5 lb in August.

“I’ve never caught a four-pounder before so that is my next target back in England,’ concluded the RSPB site manager.

Darren hit the headlines last summer when he became the first UK angler to catch a 5 lb true crucian. It came in an epic catch of four five-pounders topped by a brace of 5 lb 1 oz specimens from Lake Ursjön in Sweden.

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Monster 6 lb perch!

The Westin backed angler tempted the 50 cm specimen on one of their new Shad Teez lures in ‘Official Roach’…

Wels catfish claimed to be ‘killers’ get rehomed by anglers

23 Apr

THE anguish of children seeing ducks devoured in a lake beside a huge shopping centre has resulted in anglers help relocate the 'offending' catfish.

The Essex wels catfish gets captured and re-homed to an angling venue. The practice is more common than you might think.
The Essex wels catfish gets captured and re-homed to an angling venue. The practice is more common than you might think.

The 25 lb wels catfish was captured by the Environment Agency from Alexandra Lake, directly adjacent to the busy Lakeside complex at Thurrock, Essex. The move came after fish had been reported eating ducks.

The big moggie was caught and successfully relocated through a partnership project the EA runs with the Catfish Conservation Group, run by anglers.

Ben Norrington, EA fisheries officer, said: “Invasive species pose a serious threat to our native wildlife and cost the UK economy a massive £1.8 billion a year.

“Working with the CCG, we’re looking at high-risk waters where fish could escape into rivers and pose a risk to native fish and other wildlife.

“The fish (wels catfish) was relocated to a fully enclosed lake,” Ben added.

Owner of that lake, Tony Wignall, explained: “When the EA or anyone else want to remove catfish from a water for any reason and re-home them they can get in touch with the secretary of the CCG who has a list of local contacts.

“I am the contact for this area and I just happened to be opening a new catfish lake on April 1, so was happy to accept another sample.

“I have a few syndicate fisheries in the area but this one, called Houchins, near Colchester, is my first day ticket water.

“There are two lakes, one for carp only and one for carp and cats, and both are available on a day ticket booked in advance or for lake hire.

“The lake the cat came from used to be a fishery but for some reason was closed, but the CCG has now been given permission to run a couple of night fishing competitions there over the next few years to help reduce the population.

“I’m sure there must be much bigger cats at Lakeside as I doubt the one removed could have been quite big enough to have taken a duck, although it could easily take ducklings.

“All catfish caught will be relocated to other enclosed waters with the help of the CCG,” Tony concluded.

Canal wels catfish also given new home

There was also a similar move made with a 30 lb wels catfish. It was netted by Canal & River Trust staff on the Grand Union Canal and re-homed to Luton Angling Club’s Beckerings Reservoir in Bedfordshire.

Richard Clarke, Secretary of the CCG, explained: “Since I first got involved with the CCG eight years ago we have steadily built a good working relationship with local EA fishery officers.

“They contact us if they come across any rogue catfish that have been caught or advise us in advance if they are going to net somewhere that has cats.

“As a result in that time we have relocated several thousand catfish to waters that have permits to stock them.

“I hold the permit for our own lake Adam’s Pool and also have a licence to transport them in equipment we own.

“Numbers involved can range from a single specimen like the one at Lakeside to 20 or 30 if a lake is being drained, and I personally receive several enquiries a month.

“The EA don’t have to come through us and they have direct contact with some clubs, as in the case of Luton AC which took the cat recently from the GUC, he added.

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Three huge roach for over 8 lb

23 Apr

SPESSY ace Daniel Woolcott topped a superb roach session on a secret large gravel pit with this 3 lb 4 oz redfin.

The 32-year-old Londoner said: “This was a massive roach and exactly what I was hoping for but was below my PB of 3 lb 11 oz caught in 2016.

“I also had a brace of 2 lb 12 oz and 2 lb 2 oz.

“I targeted the fish with a 50 g open ended cage feeder fished at 50 yards.

“All three fish were caught on red maggots on a size 18 hook with short helicopter rigs and 5 lb fluorocarbon hook links.

“I will now turn my attentions to bream and tench over the spring,” concluded Daniel.

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Mark Lloyd, leader of Angling Trust, set to quit

23 Apr

ONE of the most pivotal roles in English angling is up for grabs.

Mark Lloyd will be leaving the Angling Trust chief executive post, and he will take up the CEO role at environmental group, The Rivers Trust.

Mark has headed up the Angling Trust & Fish Legal for ten years. He oversaw the historic unification of angling organisations in 2009 but will depart this summer.

Mark said: “It’s very difficult to leave an organisation which I helped create ten years ago and have seen grow and develop into a powerful and influential voice for all forms of angling.

“Of course it will be very hard to say goodbye to the staff, volunteers and members who have all helped make the vision of a united, professional representative body for all anglers become a reality.

“However, I am very excited about my new role at The Rivers Trust and the opportunity to focus on finding solutions to the environmental degradation of our precious rivers, which is where my career started.”

Trust policy chief Martin Salter, said: “When I was the MP responsible for liaising with angling bodies from 1997 to 2010, there was a hopeless mess of disparate and often warring organisations which made angling look pretty amateurish.

“Mark Lloyd has brought in significant new funding which has allowed the Trust to grow. He leaves behind a strong and effective organisation.”

Details of how to apply for the role of chief executive of the Trust are on their website. The closing date is April 29, 2019.

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Tackle shop stop produces giant pike

23 Apr

MARTIN BROADHURST got some excellent venue advice from a local tackle shop... and went on to tempt this specimen 34 lb 6 oz pike.

The 41-year-old joiner from Appleby, Cumbria, fished a turbo smelt hard on the bottom at the Lake District venue.

Martin said: “Anglers should look after your local tackle shops as they are a essential part of fishing that online buying can’t give.

“My local tackle shop Carlson’s (in Kendal) is probably the best shop in ‘the lakes’ for pike fishermen to go before casting a line.

“I caught this one on a home-made trace with size 8 trebles.

“I use smaller trebles as you definitely get more runs and fish.”

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