The European population of the freshwater eel is at an historic low at about 1% of 1980 stock levels. The number of eels is continuing to decline and is now outside safe biological limits resulting in unsustainable levels for the future. In other words, unless immediate action is taken, the freshwater eel is heading for extinction, and soon.
There are a number of reasons put forward for this including:-
The reasons for this decline are still not fully understood but many of the factors previously mentioned undoubtedly contribute. In light of this desperate situation members are urged to take great care if eels are caught and do everything possible to ensure that they are returned to the river unharmed.
Without taking proper precautions Anglers are at risk from Leptospirosis. It is a widespread bacterial disease that affects both humans and animals. Common carriers are cattle, pigs, horses, dogs, rodents and wild animals. Humans become infected through contact with water, food or soil containing the urine from infected animals, the most common of which, so far as anglers are concerned is the rat.
The lower reaches of the Tees have a high rat population particularly near farms. The most common way of contracting the disease is by eating contaminated food or through skin contact, particularly eyes and nose, or cuts and scratches.
The symptoms of the disease, which normally develop between 2 to 19 days after exposure are initially very similar to those of common influenza which are fever, chills, headache, vomiting and diarrhoea. However if not diagnosed and treated correctly they can quickly develop into kidney damage, meningitis, liver failure and respiratory distress leading to death in some cases. Fortunately, if correctly diagnosed the disease is easily treated with modern antibiotics. It is therefore extremely important that you make your doctor aware of the possibility of Weils disease if you develop 'flu like symptoms that do not clear up quickly.
Our native salmon are in danger from a highly contagious parasite (Gyrodactylus salaris) that has
devastated freshwater salmon stocks in a number of countries. In Norway for example, salmon stocks in 20 rivers have been virtually wiped out.
Less than a millimetre long, the parasite multiplies very rapidly, and it only takes one to start an epidemic.
Countries currently affected are:
The parasite is capable of surviving for several days in damp and/or wet conditions (such as on waders, fishing tackle, bags,nets etc.), therefore it could be accidentally introduced by an angler who fishes a river in an infected country and then uses the same equipment in the UK without taking precautionary measures.
The parasite needs a wet environment to survive. If you fish in any of the infected countries make sure that your tackle is completely dry before using it on any UK river. The safest precaution is to dry your tackle at a minimum of 20 degrees celsius for at least two days before use in the UK.
There has been also been a significant increase in poaching on the lower stretch at Worsall and Aislaby. If you see poachers, particularly those using a net, you should call the emergency number on your fishing licence and in the case of the Gainford stretch the Barnard Castle police as well,Tel: 0845 606 0365.
If you believe there is criminal activity taking place dial 999. Do not tackle poachers yourself, particularly if they are using a net or you believe they are engaged in criminal activity.
There have been a number of significant thefts from local farms and Andy Hutchinson at Aislaby Grange and John Lowther at Port Knowle have decided to lock the farm
gates at specific times.
Aislaby Grange - Gates open at 8.30am, close at 5.00 pm winter 8.00pm summer (1 April to 30 Sept)
Port Knowle - Gates open at 8.30am, close at 5.30 pm winter, 8.00pm summer (1 April to 30 Sept.)
These times will be posted at the car parks to remind you. Both farmers will NOT open the gates once they have been closed and if you over stay the closing time your car will remain there until the gates reopen the following morning. You have been warned.
Parking at Low Worsall is on the village green. Cars must not be taken down the track to the river bank. At High Worsall parking is in the car park on the lane leading to Holme Farm and at Fardeanside in front of the farm house.
All members are issued with a windscreen sticker. Farmers recognise members cars by these stickers and may also ask you for your club card. Anglers not displaying car stickers will be denied access.
We rent this fishing and have no wish to lose it. The board will not support any member who contravenes these instructions and the offender may have their membership withdrawn.