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 Sewage another perspective

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John Blackledge

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PostSubject: Sewage another perspective   Fri Feb 18, 2011 9:59 pm

1st off this is my first visit here and I have read with interest through tons of threads on the forum, and can only congratulate everyone on the stirling work they are doing. I only wish that i had known about TAC earlier.

That said, I guess my next comment may be contraversial. As a Sea Angler, almost exclusively doing my fishing between Dagenham and Shoebury from both the north bank and the dark side, I, along with many other RSA's have, over the years, and co-inciding with the clean up of the river, in particular the moving of the sewage outfalls to deep water, have noticed a huge decline in numbers and species of fish available from the shore.

We are nowadays pretty much limited to School Bass, with only the odd mature fish coming out of selected marks, Small Whiting, barely sizeable dabs, Mackerel and the odd Mullet. These fish, used to be plentiful along our stretch of coastline and more often than not, well above the minimum landing size. Codling used to be a regular visitor to our shoreline, not any more, although they do still inhabit the deeper waters, we also no longer see Sole Flounders or Plaice on the beaches in most spots. Lug and Ragworm are also harder to find. Crab populations have, however, exploded and the oyster beds (aka tackle graveyard) are coming back to life. The problem is that there does not seem to be an influx of shore species replacing those that have disappeared

Now rather selfishly, those of us that fish the estuary have tended to blame the disappearing fish population on the clean-up as there seems to be a direct correlation, so I have a question, can the river be too clean.
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Steve Holmes



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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Fri Feb 18, 2011 10:29 pm

John welcome to the TAC - great first post.

Short answer is don't know. But the EA have netted the tidal annually (since the 60s I think) to conduct fish surveys...down to Thurrock. The EA officer who is actually writing the report for 2010's findings is a TAC member and we're due to speak soon about sea lamprey and shad so we can ask him then if we can see the results and share what we find out.

What I saw with my own eyes this year is the upper estuary is packed with small flounders, gobies, smelt and numbers of baby bass. That must mean there's plenty of adults successfully spawning. Everyone who knows me is bored by me banging on about prawns Razz but the estuary is rammed with prawns. Did you see this when you were reading articles John?

http://www.rivertac.org/site/?p=428

The EA said as the estuary is so lightly fished, commercially or angler, baby fish thrive. So I just wonder if the biggies are on natural, live food? What do you think? Is it possible? You mentioned loads of crabs - that would support my armchair science theories Smile

Commercial fishermen in the Thames are worried about sole catches going down due to the dredging for the new port. Do you think that could be an issue?
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James Page



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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:36 am

happy days, an angler from the estuary
we've been sorely lacking an angling opinion from down there

post up all your thoughts and concerns fella, shoot from the hip and aim for the eyes
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John Blackledge

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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:07 pm

Thanks for the welcome guys

I have to say that I am sorely dissappointed in the attitude/apathy of the many estuary anglers on my usual forum WSF, where I have been trying to generate some interest in TAC.

I suppose it comes down to a distrust, engendered over many years, for reasons lost in time, in those in authority, and in those of a coarse/puddlebashing persuasion. Particularly at the moment, the AT and commercial fishermen are the subject of RSA ire, as is Keith Arthur for his recently expressed opinions.

Despite these prejudices, whether justified or not, we do all agree that something has to be done about the environmental issues that are impacting our sport.

Once upon a time the beaches of Southend held the accolade of top Oyster beds in the world. That was 280+ years ago, when there were no controls over what was dumped in our river, the shelfish in turn attracted a wide variety of species. In fact, these oyster beds are the very reason that Southend really came into existence as a town. This industry closed after the invasion and destruction of the beds by the men of Kent in 1724.

Shortly after the town grew up to be a sort of spa town, and the sewers were built, ( mid 1800's) pouring out raw sewage, just 30 yards (26 meters) below the high tide mark, the fishing on this side of the river spawned a large fishing and shelfishing industry. Some of the original families, the Deals and The Gilsons, still fish the estuary.

The peak of fishing, and I suggest it can be said also the peak of sea species and the quantity of sea fish on the beaches of the Thames Estuary, was in the 50's and 60's and early 70's, It literally was possible to catch a fish with a bit of string with a hook tied to it with bacon rind as bait. I know, I did it as a child. This co-incides with the period that the largest amount of sewage was being pumped onto the beaches as it were. Once the new outfall in the deep channel was built, the decline was fast

We cannot, of course, return to the polluted past, but I would suggest that the pre disposition of getting Salmon back in the Thames, in the 70's, and of de-polluting the upper reaches, has completely ignored the estuary, which, being saline, is a completely different eco-system, and has resulted in the slow and systematic decline in traditional species.

Whilst the work on the upper Thames must be applauded, we cannot lose sight of the need to balance conservation efforts so as not to prejudice the eco system of the estuary

Steve, you said

Quote :
The EA said as the estuary is so lightly fished, commercially or angler, baby fish thrive. So I just wonder if the biggies are on natural, live food? What do you think? Is it possible? You mentioned loads of crabs - that would support my armchair science theories

The EA should take a look at the factory ship that regularly fishes the outer estuary. Other than that, there are reasons very few of us fish the beaches anymore, 1/ No Fish and 2 / No Fish. There are biggies in the deep channel, and to be honest the odd adult fish hits the shore, once in a blue moon. So I guess that your theory about natural live food could be correct. The inshore worm beds have suffered over recent years, and as for prawns, there are more in ASDA than on the beaches of the estuary

If anyone wants to gat an idea of how the fishing is in the estuary, this is the link to the South East Forum at WSF http://www.worldseafishing.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=39 also known as the asylum
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Steve Holmes



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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:20 pm

Superb post John and thanks for trying to recruit estuary anglers on WSF Wink
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Richard Crimp
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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:24 am

Welcome John, and I must say a welcome post that challenges the perception of 'clean means green', although in deference to your greater knowledge of the sport available to yourselves - in or around the estuary - are we to allow 39 million tonnes of human waste enter the water-course because our brothers of the sea may 'profit' through the choking of our rivers, with all forms of toxins and poisons?

One thing that stands above my own catch and concerns is the fundamental structure on which our seas and rivers are built, the constitutes that formed them originally, and their natural state. The influence of the human population over the centuries will undoubtedly create a proliferation of species in one area or another, whether that be through a thousand wrecked ships creating a habitat as yet underdeveloped, or the introduction of a microscopic organism that changes the food chain discernably through the 3 billion tonnes of household waste that is thrown in the North Sea on an annual basis.

Your sport changes, as does ours, and very little stays the same. 25% of Great Britain's work force used to rely on the sea and its catch for its employment and that is no longer tenable (for obvious reasons), all of our recreational pursuits - in an angling sense - are distorted by many 'external' influences, and it is incumbent upon every angler to protect his/her way of life by whatever means necessary. However, we also have to be people of our time, and there is little between an angler fishing in a puddle and one that fishes the sea. In consort there is much to be gained, as separate entities we lose strength.

Welcome on board John and long may you and our brothers of the sea come to realise that we are of the same strand, that your marks are our marks, and that our pegs welcome all coats!

Get the kettle on! Laughing


Richard Basketball
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James Page



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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Mon Feb 21, 2011 7:16 am

john, its fab that estuary anglers have the same concern as us upstream, the fish

sewage of the right sort, in the right amount, at the right place can be beneficial to some species of fish, but modern sewage is laced with endochrines, the contraceptive pill and hows this, fish brains have been found to contain prozac

it's all a mare mate, and no-one person or small group can understand it all, but a small group can begin to slowly bring about change, this small group, the TAC, of which you are now part, begs, pleads, cajoles all thames estuary anglers to get involved

we wanna welcome our brothers of the angle, big up their success's and assist whenever we can

maybe admin could put something on your forum, explaining about our club
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Steve Holmes



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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Mon Feb 21, 2011 11:31 am

James Page wrote:

maybe admin could put something on your forum, explaining about our club

Already done mate - I'm a WSF member.

http://www.worldseafishing.com/forums/showthread.php?t=397366
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John Blackledge

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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:34 pm

Richard

Quote :
Welcome John, and I must say a welcome post that challenges the perception of 'clean means green', although in deference to your greater knowledge of the sport available to yourselves - in or around the estuary - are we to allow 39 million tonnes of human waste enter the water-course because our brothers of the sea may 'profit' through the choking of our rivers, with all forms of toxins and poisons?

You are, of course, correct that toxins cannot be allowed to flow freely into Old Father T. We do still, of course, allow untreated sewage to enter the deep channel at my end of the river. There is no question of a desire to choke the river, but do not forget that a gradual build up of pollution over hundreds of years, may have built a measure of tollerance in the sea/river life in line with Darwins methodology described in the Origin of the Species. The rapid (albeit severly needed) cleanup, may, in the long term, actually be harmful to the river as a whole. There are plenty of examples in nature where rapid changes in habitat (usually by mans' hand ) reap short term benefits, only for long term results to be ultimately detrimental. I will give these examples, as we are on the subject of toxins

1/ Over thousands of years, man developed natural resistance to a plethora of bugs. Some remained deadly, but the vast majority were dealt with by the body's natural defences. In less than 100 years since the development of antibiotics, man has become succeptible to previously even relatively inert bugs, due to the over use of said antibiotics. In fact the evolution of the bacteria caused by antibiotic use, has resulted in the medicines becoming so strong that many are now as dangerous as the illnesses they are designed to treat

2/ Humans are designed, and have evolved, to eat fresh, cooked meat and vegatables. Since the 60's, the vast majority of foods we eat are stuffed with additives, excess fat, salt and sugar. These all act on the body in adverse ways, causing previously unknown levels of diabetes, allergy, obesity etc etc

3/ (not for the easily offended) There are even animal examples. 50 years ago, if a dog did a dump in the street, it dried and went white, these days, the waste is preserved and stays fresh looking. Dogs suffer many more stomach disorders than they used to

As much as we need to stop over pollution, we must measure our response to take account of evolutionary factors. Unfortunately humans are a very impatient species

Quote :
One thing that stands above my own catch and concerns is the fundamental structure on which our seas and rivers are built, the constitutes that formed them originally, and their natural state. The influence of the human population over the centuries will undoubtedly create a proliferation of species in one area or another, whether that be through a thousand wrecked ships creating a habitat as yet underdeveloped, or the introduction of a microscopic organism that changes the food chain discernably through the 3 billion tonnes of household waste that is thrown in the North Sea on an annual basis.

I very much despise the practice of dumping waste in the sea, especially with millions of cubic meters of disused mine works under our countryside
However, our watercourses have always been natures natural sewer. Once again, a gradual increase in "natural waste" is perfectly sustainable. It is the rapid chemical increases that bother me. My current major concern is twofold. Firstly, the dredging of the channel for the superport. How many toxins are being released by the dredge, which, in the main travel up and downstream, only reaching our beaches twice a day. Secondly, once the port is built and operational, what problems will the increased river traffic cause

Quote :
Your sport changes, as does ours, and very little stays the same. 25% of Great Britain's work force used to rely on the sea and its catch for its employment and that is no longer tenable (for obvious reasons), all of our recreational pursuits - in an angling sense - are distorted by many 'external' influences, and it is incumbent upon every angler to protect his/her way of life by whatever means necessary. However, we also have to be people of our time, and there is little between an angler fishing in a puddle and one that fishes the sea. In consort there is much to be gained, as separate entities we lose strength.

In my mind, every brother of the angle, sea or course, would do well to read the writings of Izzak Walton, which shows how close we were in the past. To angle is all, where and how we angle is an expression of our individuality. I do of course exclude MODERN Carp anglers like my own best friend, from the description Angler, preferring, to his disgust, to use the term Catcher lol! lol!

Purely as a side note, now that the river is clean, has anyone ever taken fish for the table ( I'm not sure on the regulations about this, but have eaten Carp and Pike in a restaurant, and actually found them both to be excellent)
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Richard Crimp
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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:03 am

What we have though John, in this day and age, is something completely different... if we use the analogy of human tolerance, to animal tolerance, then we have carsinogens in the air that we breathe that causes all manner of respiratory diseases (inc. cancer), and we have bio-accumalative substances in our water course that feeds up through the food chain. It's a little different to bugs and germs.

I appreciate your viewpoint and I am perfectly aware (for example) that the greater nutrification of the river will see species such as carp flourish.

But should we continue to allow this...






John Blackledge wrote:
Purely as a side note, now that the river is clean, has anyone ever taken fish for the table ( I'm not sure on the regulations about this, but have eaten Carp and Pike in a restaurant, and actually found them both to be excellent)
Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John, I have also tasted carp and it tastes like... rhymes with bite!

I have no problem with people eating carp (perch, pike, zander etc.), just don't eat them from the river, buy them from Billingsgate Market! pirat


Richard Twisted Evil
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Richard Crimp
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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Tue Feb 22, 2011 12:35 am

John Blackledge wrote:
My current major concern is twofold. Firstly, the dredging of the channel for the superport. How many toxins are being released by the dredge, which, in the main travel up and downstream, only reaching our beaches twice a day. Secondly, once the port is built and operational, what problems will the increased river traffic cause?

We're with you John!

Use this link


Richard Evil or Very Mad
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James Page



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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:28 am

thanks john for helping us understand the estuarine environment, we genuinely aint got a clue m8, although a TAC rep did attend the consultations for the deep water port
if memory serves me right we expressed concerns about disturbed toxins, and were informed regular testing will be carried out, increased traffic however never occured to us
as we all know, we're all connected, well lets join together and use our combined resources to make a difference
please post the concerns of the estuary anglers, and if we can help, we most certainly will
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John Blackledge

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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:09 am

Richard Crimp wrote:
What we have though John, in this day and age, is something completely different... if we use the analogy of human tolerance, to animal tolerance, then we have carsinogens in the air that we breathe that causes all manner of respiratory diseases (inc. cancer), and we have bio-accumalative substances in our water course that feeds up through the food chain. It's a little different to bugs and germs.

I appreciate your viewpoint and I am perfectly aware (for example) that the greater nutrification of the river will see species such as carp flourish.

But should we continue to allow this...






John Blackledge wrote:
Purely as a side note, now that the river is clean, has anyone ever taken fish for the table ( I'm not sure on the regulations about this, but have eaten Carp and Pike in a restaurant, and actually found them both to be excellent)
Bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

John, I have also tasted carp and it tastes like... rhymes with bite!

I have no problem with people eating carp (perch, pike, zander etc.), just don't eat them from the river, buy them from Billingsgate Market! pirat


Richard Twisted Evil

Richard

No real difference to bugs and germs really, at least biologically speaking. Bugs and germs mutate (evolve) quicker than animals and humans, but are a great model for what happens to most organic organisms over time when exposed to different substances.

As for Carp tasting like sewage, I had mine at a restaurant in Ringwood a few years ago which advertised Carp cooked to Izzak Waltons Recipe. Very nice indeed. As for Billingsgate, dont you mean the purveyor of the fruits of raped fisheries affraid affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Sewage another perspective   Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:48 pm

John Blackledge wrote:
As for Billingsgate, dont you mean the purveyor of the fruits of raped fisheries affraid affraid

Now were cooking! Wink

Couldn't agree with you more JB.


Richard
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