News

Environment Agency unveils new rod licence images to promote legal fishing

02 March 2015

Environment Agency unveils new rod licence images to promote legal fishing
The Environment Agency today (Monday 2nd March) unveils its new design for this year’s rod licences.

Designed by renowned angling and wildlife artist, David Miller, the new rod licences go on sale today. The image on this year’s coarse fishing rod licence is a crucian carp (Carassius carassius) and the non-coarse is a salmon (Salmo salar).

Last year David’s artwork featured on a range of sustainable fish stamps for the Royal Mail.

Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

“Rod licence income is used to protect and improve fish stocks and fisheries for the benefit of anglers. We want more people to go fishing this year and everyone who does will need one of these licences.

“We’re delighted to see David’s stunning designs yet again which promote the beauty of our natural environment and encourage people to give fishing a go.”

David Miller, the artist who designed the rod licence, said:

“Designing this year’s rod licence combines two of my passions: fishing and art. The Environment Agency does a fantastic job and I’m proud to be supporting rod licence sales with my artwork.”

At £27 for coarse fishing and non-migratory trout, or £72 to also fish for salmon and sea trout, the annual licence is great value for money. There are flexible options to choose from too: a 1 or 8 day licence or the full season. There are also junior and concession options.

You can buy a rod licence online from the Post Office here, at your local Post Office or by phoning 0344 800 5386.

Buying a rod licence online from the Post Office website is easy, and saves both time and administration costs, meaning that more of the income can be spent on improving fish stocks and fishing. Always ensure that you buy direct from the Post Office because there are some unofficial websites which charge a handling fee.

Anyone fishing illegally is cheating other licence paying anglers, can expect to be prosecuted and face a substantial fine.

In 2013/ 2014 the Environment Agency checked 80,000 rod licences and prosecuted 2,795 anglers for fishing without a licence.


Free online training in biosecurity now available!

24 February 2015

Free online training in biosecurity now available!
Free online training in biosecurity is now available through the NNSS e-learning site! www.nonnativespecies.org/elearning

The e-learning is based on an existing package developed by the Environment Agency and is ideal for use by anyone working in the field, including staff, volunteers and contractors.

To take the training you will first need to register with the site. Once you’ve been through the e-learning, you'll be able to take a test and download a certificate once you’ve passed.

Check Clean Dry is on Twitter!

20 February 2015

Check Clean Dry is on Twitter!
Following the success of Invasives week, Check Clean Dry has joined Twitter! For news and updates on the campaign, follow @CheckCleanDryGB or visit the page here https://twitter.com/CheckCleanDryGB 

Environment Agency winning the war on destructive invasive fish

18 February 2015

Environment Agency winning the war on destructive invasive fish
Download an infographic here

The Environment Agency has moved one step closer to winning its battle against a destructive invasive fish which has been wreaking havoc in the country’s lakes and ponds. Topmouth gudgeon outcompete native fish for food and habitat, and spread disease.

At their peak, a decade ago, topmouth gudgeon had been found widely spread across the UK at 23 locations. But after today’s (17 February) operation, and through the Environment Agency’s targeted removal, there are now just three remaining sites in England.

This is not the first time that the Environment Agency has led the complete removal of an invasive species. The fathead minnow was eliminated in 2008 followed by the black bullhead catfish last year.

Smaller than an average thumb, what topmouth gudgeon (pseudorasbora parva) lack in size they make up for with quantity. They breed up to four times a year and as a result can form vast populations.

Their sheer numbers mean that they impact native fish by outcompeting them for food and habitat. This in turn means fewer invertebrates available to other fish and wildlife and upsets the natural balance of a lake or pond. Topmouth gudgeon also eat the eggs of other fish and carry a parasite.

Native to Asia, it is thought that they were introduced to Britain in the 1980s from mainland Europe and potentially spread through fish farm movements and the ornamental fish trade.

Today expert fisheries officers, kitted out in specialist protective gear, were on-site for this latest operation at three ponds in Hackney, north London.

Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

“Invasive species pose a serious threat to our native wildlife and cost the UK economy at least massive £1.8 billion a year. Topmouth gudgeon are on our hit list of the UK’s most damaging invasive species and despite only being tiny have devastating effects on fisheries and angling.

“While Britain’s rivers are the healthiest for more than 20 years, rivers and ponds that harbour non-native species can have their water quality and ecology affected and could fall short of tough EU targets.”

It is not certain how the topmouth gudgeon first found their way to the ponds in Hackney but experts believe it is likely that they were dumped illegally. The Environment Agency is urging people who own fish that the apparently harmless action of releasing unwanted fish into a local pond can have disastrous long-term effects on the environment and other animals within it.

To ensure the continued success of this work, the Environment Agency is asking members of the public to report any sightings of topmouth gudgeon, or other invasive fish, species to its incident hotline on 03708 506506, via email at: non-natives@environment-agency.gov.uk or via the AquaInvaders app downloadable at: http://naturelocator.org/aquainvaders.html.

Everyone can do their bit to help prevent the spread of invasive species by following the principles of the ‘Be Plantwise’ campaign and not dumping aquatic plants in the wild and always disposing of old plants and pond material responsibly, and by composting or using a green waste bin. By following the tips of the ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ campaign , anglers, boaters and canoeists can help prevent the spread of invasive species between waterways.

Infrastructure Bill receives Royal Assent - bringing species control agreements and orders to England and Wales

13 February 2015

Infrastructure Bill receives Royal Assent - bringing species control agreements and orders to England and Wales
The Infrastructure Act 2015 became law yesterday (12 February 2015). While the Act primarily relates to infrastructure and development, it also introduces much needed powers to control invasive non-native species in England and Wales. The measures provide government agencies in England and Wales with powers to enter into control agreements and, if necessary, control orders with landowners to ensure action can be taken against harmful species on their land. The measures follow similar provisions introduced in Scotland by the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.

The full Act can be found here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/7/contents/enacted/data.htm

For more information on these provisions, please contact Craig Lee in Defra at craig.lee@defra.gsi.gov.uk


Invasives week - Day 5!

06 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 5!

Welcome to Day 5 of Invasives week!

Thank you to everyone who submitted a question for our experts, we've stopped taking questions now but stay tuned for their answers on Twitter #Invasivesweek.

A huge thanks to everyone who has been following and supporting Invasives week, the response has been brilliant. Some highlights below: 

Please continue to let us know what you are doing #invasivesweek  #checkcleandry  #beplantwise

Find out what we've been up to on the Defra social media accounts:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/


Invasives week - Day 4!

05 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 4!

Welcome to Day 4 of Invasives week!

A huge thanks for all the support so far!

Today's agenda:

  • Defra have published a case study on their Facebook account about the work of the Cumbria Freshwater Invasive Non-native Species Initiative (CFINNS).
  • We are calling for questions on invasive non-native species for tomorrow's Twitter Q&A with experts Dr Niall Moore and Dr Helen Roy. Please tag any questions with #invasivesweek.

All the links can also be found on the Defra social media accounts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/

Let us know what you are doing to support Invasives week! #invasivesweek   #checkcleandry   #beplantwise


International Conference Aims To Debate Important EU Biodiversity Policy

04 February 2015

International Conference Aims To Debate Important EU Biodiversity Policy
Press release:

The new Invasive Alien Species (IAS) legislation passed by the European Union will be debated at a conference taking place on Tuesday 17 March 2015 at Portcullis House in London.

The recently-approved EU Commission’s Invasive Alien Species legislation became law on 1 January 2015. The Regulation will lead to the Commission adopting an open list of invasive alien species of Union concern. Species on the list must not be introduced, transported, placed on the market, kept, bred, grown or released into the environment. The new Regulation also covers invasive alien species of regional concern and allows member states to identify from their national list species that require enhanced regional cooperation.

According to the EU, there are currently over 12, 000 species present in Europe which are alien to the natural environment. About 15% of these are invasive and they are rapidly growing in number.

The day-long conference aims to inform and educate attendees about the new legislation and its impact on native biodiversity.

Event organiser, the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI), one of Europe’s leading squirrel charities, acknowledges the impact that invasive alien species have on the country’s bio-diversity, eco-systems, human health and economy. ESI is bringing together European and British stakeholders to discuss the details of the legislation and its impact here in the UK.

Alongside the general discussion about IAS legislation implications, representatives of three specific invasive species will be making a case for inclusion on the initial list of concern, including: Grey Squirrels, Japanese Knotweed and North American Signal Crayfish.

The conference sponsors include Simon Hart MP, Peter Aldous MP and Richard Benyon MP.

George Farr, Chairman of European Squirrel Initiative commented: “Our specific concern is the impact of Grey Squirrels on our native habitat; however, we thought it was important to convene a meeting of some of the best minds in Britain on the subject of IAS as this legislation will impact the biodiversity of the entire country.”

“Invasive Alien Species are costing the EU in excess of €12 billion per annum and therefore this is a problem that must be tackled at the highest level. I look forward to an informative day and healthy debate on identifying the right species for the IAS list. If the list itself doesn’t effectively reflect the problem – the legislation won’t work.”

The conference is limited in space. For more information contact: Louise Crosby on louise@europeansquirrelinitiative.org or 01394 610 022.

Scheduled to speak:

François Wakenhut – European Commission, Head of Unit -DG Environment, Biodiversity Trevor Salmon –Defra, Head of Domestic & Invasive Non-Native, Species Conservation Team Peter Birch- Canal & River Trust , National Environment Manager Dr. Dick Shaw – CABI UK, Regional Coordinator, Invasives Dr. Craig Shuttleworth- European Squirrel Initiative, Biologist and Squirrel Specialist


Invasives week - Day 3!

04 February 2015

Invasives week - Day 3!

Welcome to Day 3 of Invasives week!

Monday's BuzzFeed article has now received over 2400 views, and yesterday's has already reached 700! A huge thanks to everyone who has helped to support Invasives week so far.

Today's agenda:

All the links can also be found on the Defra social media accounts:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DefraGovUK  
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DefraGovUK  
Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/DefraGovUK/

Let us know what you are doing to support Invasives week! #invasivesweek  #checkcleandry  #beplantwise



Thin strip of image show tree trunk and bark