RULES TO BRING LOCAL EELS BACK FROM THE BRINK
A PLAN to stem
the catastrophic decline of the eel in Southport waters has been
agreed by EU Ministers meeting in Brussels this week.
While improved water quality has in many cases led to fish being
found in greater numbers than at any time in the since the 19th
century, the once common eel is disappearing. Eels can be
found in almost all British waters, including canals, rivers, ponds,
meres and reservoirs, but in recent years their population has
crashed. Since the 1980's the number of young eels has declined
dramatically to in some cases just 1% of their former numbers.
But this week EU Ministers agreed an action plan to help reverse the
decline and local Liberal Democrat Environment spokesman Chris
Davies has welcomed the new measures. He said:- "The
fall in eel numbers is catastrophic. There is no certainty these
measures will be sufficient but if no action is taken eels will
become extinct in most of our rivers and waterways."
Eels swim from Britain to the Sargasso Sea where they breed. Tiny
elvers are then carried on the currents to Britain, where they swim
up estuaries to grow and mature in lakes and ponds. Eventually the
oldest eels will migrate back downstream where they will spawn once
and then die.
The reasons for the dramatic decline are unclear. Overfishing may be
the cause but some scientists believe that a slowing of the Gulf
Stream due to climate change may be leaving the tiny elvers unable
to survive the 5,000 mile journey from the Sargasso Sea. The
Department for the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (Defra)
will be responsible for drawing up an eel management plan to protect
eels in local rivers and this will be in force by July next year at
the latest. This will aim to ensure that at least 40% of adult eels
can return to the sea to breed.
Euro-MP Chris Davies says it is essential to have an EU wide plan of
action to protect the survival of eels in local waterways.
"The vast distances covered by eels during their migration to
spawn mean that conservation measures must be planned on an
international basis. Many people think of eels as slimy
creatures or even as a strange Southern delicacy. But for centuries
they have travelled halfway across the world to live in our local
The law will also ensure that a proportion of eels caught must be
reserved for restocking schemes. By 2013 almost 2/3rds of catches
will be set aside to repopulate rivers.
Eels are mainly
nocturnal spending much of the day resting in dark holes under tree
roots and bridges. They often colonise foreign objects on the bed of
the river or canal such as shopping trolleys. Eels can also be
found in lakes and meres isolated from flowing water. In exceptional
cases they have been known to cross the land in search of a new
MONEY IMPROVES PARENT-CHILD RELATIONS
are no longer relying on the bank of Mum and Dad, according to new
research from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). Since the
introduction of Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) across England
in 2004 the financial pressure on parents has lessened, with 55% of
young people receiving EMA saying they are much more financially
independent than before they received the allowance.
Previous research conducted in December 2005 showed parents with
children between 16 to 19 spent an average of £1,808 a year, or £34
a week, on each child in this age group - and this has significantly
reduced to just £11.50 a week for those with teens receiving EMA.
With EMA, young people can earn up to £30 a week providing their
household income is up to £30,810 a year. In addition, teenagers
staying in full time education benefit the family as they become
entitled to other benefits, such as Child Tax Credits and Child
Benefit worth up to £64 a week.
Relationships between parent and teen have also improved, with 28%
of parents agreeing that fewer money arguments have occurred since
their teenager started receiving the allowance. 34% parents
also cited improvements with their teenagers' money management
skills and a similar number (33%) said they were now more
responsible since getting the allowance.
As the weekly payments depend on the young person being able to
demonstrate dedication to their learning programme, a better
attitude towards learning was also reported, so the LSC is urging
more young people to apply now for EMA in time for the September
term. EMA is available for a large variety of vocational and
academic learning programmes and retakes, including LSC funded Entry
to Employment (e2e) and Programme led Apprenticeships whether at
college, school 6th form centres and some work based learning
Psychologist Donna Dawson said;- "By easing money worries, EMA
makes a substantial contribution to helping build healthy
relationships between parents and their children - not only by
reducing the burden on parents, but by giving young people the
financial independence and the increased responsibility that they
Trevor Fellowes, Director of Learner Support at the Learning and
Skills Council said:- "EMA has not only meant that more young
people can afford to stay on in learning, it also makes them more
financially independent and helps young people to develop better
money management skills. With the new school year starting in
September, it is vital that all eligible young people who aren't
already receiving EMA apply now to ensure that they don't miss out."
Phil Hope, Skills Minister said:- "EMA has been a huge success
story. It has given a massive boost to our drive to increase post-16
participation to improve this country's competitiveness. By paying
money directly into young people's own bank accounts it has helped
remove financial barriers holding them back from staying on in
learning and training. By covering everyday costs it has meant
hundreds of thousands of young people have been able to resist
pressures to drop out into low-paid, dead-end work. Staying on and
getting qualifications employers need is becoming increasingly
important as fewer and fewer jobs in future will be open to people
with low skills."