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Friday Fishy News - 8 September


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Well, Raiders, as the old saying goes, "better late than never" - I couldn't post this last night because of computer problems... But here it is - this week's fishy news (quite meaty this week):

Zhang Lianwei undone by a fish at China Tour Shanghai event

The Associated Press

Published: September 1, 2006

SHANGHAI, China Hoping for a birdie, top Chinese golfer Zhang Lianwei found a fish instead.

Zhang was in mid-swing at a Chinese Omega Tour event Thursday when a hefty carp decided to perform some out-of-water acrobatics beside the 14th hole at the Grand Shanghai course.

Startled, Zhang muffed the shot and took a bogey on the hole rather than the intended birdie. He shot a 69 for the round, ending the day in a five-way tie for first at the Shandong Leg event.

"I thought someone had thrown a huge stone into the water," said the 41-year-old Zhang, a pioneer of Chinese professional golf and the first Chinese player to appear in the Masters at Augusta in 2004. "That's what it sounded like."

Zhang heads the Order of Merit on the China Tour, started recently to promote the development of competitive players in the country, where golf is growing rapidly in popularity. The veteran edged Ernie Els by a stroke in 2003 to win the Singapore Masters.

Taiwan girl critical after fish jumps into mouth

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006

India eNews.com

Taipei, Sep 3 (DPA) Doctors at a Taipei hospital were fighting to save a girl’s life after an eel jumped into her mouth and ruptured her oesophagus, media reports said Sunday.

A three-year-old girl was attacked by the eel a month ago and has been kept at the intensive care unit at the Mackay Memorial Hospital ever since, the Apple Daily reported.

According to the daily, the girl’s father caught some eels from the sea in August and took them home to prepare for a meal.

As he was killing the eels, his daughter was standing by when one of the eels wriggled from her father’s hands and flipped into her mouth.

Her father pulled the eel out of her mouth, but the eel’s head had already entered and ruptured the girl’s oesophagus.

The girl was rushed to the hospital, but the wound and infection kept worsening, forcing doctors to perform a surgery on her neck and another on her chest. They also had to open a hole in her stomach so that she could be fed through a tube.

The girl remains in the intensive care unit of the Mackay Memorial Hospital, listed as in critical condition, the paper said.

Contaminated fish investigated

September 03, 2006 08:16pm


HEALTH chiefs in Hong Kong were today probing fish and prawns from China after freshwater supplies were found to be contaminated with cancer-linked human hormones, officials said.

The latest food scare emerged after tests carried out in southern China's Guangdong province found some fish had been contaminated with the male hormones methyltestosterone and chloramphenicol, which have been linked to liver cancer.

“The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department's food surveillance program has continuously been taking food samples for tests of veterinary drug residues and additives,” a statement said.

“The department will contact the Guangdong authorities to inquire about the situation.”

Hong Kong is prone to food scares as growers and suppliers in China, from which the city sources most of its produce, often fail to observe food quality codes, through either ignorance or corruption.

The latest scare comes after samples of fish farmed in Guangdong were last year found to be contaminated by an industrial dye, malachite green, that is linked to some cancers.

The Hong Kong Government introduced tighter import restrictions following the scandal.

In April this year new screening mechanisms for imported vegetables had to be introduced after banned pesticides were found in some samples.

Ads promote dam water that fish have sex in


Sean Parnell

September 05, 2006

THE divisive issue of water recycling, and whether people should drink water sourced from treated sewage, has been thrust back on the public agenda days before the Queensland election.

After the people of Toowoomba voted against taking recycled water to alleviate their severe drought, the Brisbane Riverfestival has raised the prospect of the state capital having to use more treated sewage to address its water shortages.

The Riversymposium last night heard mock advertising pitches from five real-life advertising companies, given the task of selling the concept of recycled water to the people of Brisbane.

Riverfestival general manager Jennifer Cook said the companies had chosen approaches that were logical, educational, humorous, and carried shock value. But even with an election on Saturday, and Labor and the Coalition having vastly different policies on the issue, Ms Cook said the Riversymposium was not taking sides.

"It's all hypothetical, of course," she said.

The Riversymposium last night voted a billboard with the shock message of "Let's not recycle water", and its accompanying website, as the winner.

Ms Cook said her personal favourite was the more humorous concept, based on WC Fields's famous quote: "I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it".

That billboard, which will be featured with the four other concepts at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, declares "Fish have great sex in dam water" as the agency promotes recycled water as "pure".

Putting eco-friendly fish on the menu

Posted: 05 Sep 2006

People and Planet.net

An on-line guide to buying eco-friendly fish has been launched by the Marine Conservation Society (MSC}. The one-stop shop for consumers concerned about the sustainabiity of the fish they eat is available at www.fishonline.org.

The website provides information for 150 species of seafood, with revised lists of ‘Fish to Eat’ with a clearer conscience, and ‘Fish to Avoid’ from unsustainable and damaging fisheries. A handy Pocket Good Fish Guide has also been produced, and is available free from MCS.

Fishermen from the South West are leading the way with several species caught in the area now listed as ‘Fish to Eat’, including: pilchards or sardines from Cornish waters, fished using a traditional method known as ‘ring-netting’; pot-caught crab from waters off Start Point, Devon; and line-caught and tagged pollack and seabass from Cornwall.

Species new to the 'Fish to Avoid' list include: the European eel, as stocks are at an all-time low and closure of the fishery is recommended; anchovy from the Bay of Biscay; langoustine from North and North West Spain and the Portuguese Coast; and herring and Greenland halibut from overfished stocks.

“Consumers concerned about the impact of their seafood choices on the marine environment now have an even greater choice of eco-friendly fish,” says Bernadette Clarke, MCS Fisheries Officer. “MCS anticipates that our Fish to Eat List will continue to grow as public awareness of the importance of sustainability increases and fishermen respond to demand by developing more selective and sustainable fisheries”.

New farmed species on the ‘Fish to Eat’ list include abalone, organically farmed cod, and tilapia. Dawn Purchase, MCS Mariculture Officer says “As with the capture industry, the aquaculture industry is continuing to make progress towards improving its overall environmental performance. MCS aims to highlight those producers within the industry that are leading the way by farming to higher environmental standards”.

Note: The new MCS Pocket Good Fish Guide, featuring the 2006 lists of fish to eat and fish to avoid, can be obtained FREE - send a SAE to MCS, call 01989 566017, e-mail info@mcsuk.org or download a copy from the www.fishonline.org website.

Washington Fish and Wildlife officer reprimanded for wrecking boat

Tacoma News Tribune


TACOMA, Wash. The Fish and Wildlife Department has reprimanded an enforcement officer who was controlling a 22-foot boat that became entangled in a barge cable.

The department says her inattention to the swift current contributed to the accident in July of last year in the Tacoma Narrows.

The officer and another enforcement officer on board escaped to the barge as the boat began to sink. They were treated for minor injuries. Damage to the boat totaled 60-thousand dollars.

"Intersex" fish found in Potomac

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Wednesday, September 6, 2006 • Last updated 3:06 p.m. PT

By Matthew Bakarat

Associated Press Writer

McLEAN, Va. -- Some species of male fish in the Potomac River and its tributaries are developing female sexual traits at a frequency higher than scientists have seen before, raising concerns about pollutants in a waterway that provides drinking water for millions of people.

The so-called "intersex fish," which produce immature eggs in their testes, were discovered in the Potomac rivershed in 2003 and have also been found in other parts of the country.

But the frequency that the U.S. Geological Surveys found last year is much higher than what has been found elsewhere, said fish pathologist Vicki Blazer.

In some Potomac tributaries, nearly all of the male smallmouth bass caught in last year's survey were the abnormal fish. In the Potomac itself, seven of 13 largemouth bass exhibited female characteristics, including three that were producing eggs.

Although the frequency discovered was surprisingly high, Blazer cautioned that the sample size was relatively small, with about 10 male and 10 female fish taken from each of eight locations in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Researchers were reluctant to remove large numbers of bass from the rivers because of conservation concerns, she said.

Female fish caught in the survey did not develop any unusual sex traits, though fish of both sexes exhibited lesions and other pollution-related problems, said Blazer, who coordinated the survey.

Smallmouth bass appear to be more susceptible to intersex development than largemouth bass, Blazer said.

Blazer said researchers are still waiting on data that would help them determine the water quality at the time the fish were caught, but preliminary data taken from the Potomac found a variety of chemical pollutants.

It is not exactly clear what is causing the changes, though it is likely a combination of pollutants, scientists say.

Certain chemicals and pesticides are believed to stimulate estrogen production. Also, estrogen from birth control pills and human waste can make its way from sewage treatment plants to the waterways.

The Environmental Protection Agency has been studying the issue of so-called "endocrine disruptors" since 1996, but currently does not issue guidelines to water treatment plants for allowable levels of estrogenic compounds.

Jeanne Bailey, a spokeswoman for Fairfax Water, said the findings are a concern.

The water authority, which draws from the Potomac and Occoquan rivers to provide service to roughly 1.5 million people, is working with USGS and other agencies to research and develop ways to improve water treatment to eliminate potentially harmful compounds.

The water treatments used by Fairfax Water, including ozone and activated charcoal, have been shown to reduce levels of estrogenic compounds, she said.

Bailey cautioned against drawing dire conclusions about the impact on human health. She said, "Fish are a great indicator of the health of our waters, but they are not a great indicator of what may translate to humans."

Do fish hold cancer clue for humans?

Frank Urquhart and Ian Johnston

The Scotsman - Thu 7 Sep 2006

HIGH cancer levels found in British estuary fish could indicate a link between pollutants and disease in humans, it was revealed yesterday.

Liver tumours in the fish hint at a connection with chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals, according to experts.

Tumours were found in up to a quarter of the fish taken from sites in the open sea and some industrial estuaries. The highest levels were in dab from the central and western North Sea.

Dr Grant Stentiford, from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Agriculture Science (CEFAS) in Weymouth, Dorset, said: "There are higher levels of [fish] cancer and other diseases in estuaries with the highest contamination levels."

CEFAS researchers are involved in a study of cancer in fish in UK waters, focusing on dab and flounder. The flat fish habitually lie in mud on the sea floor, where pollutants are most likely to accumulate.

Scientists found fish from the Irish Sea, around Liverpool and Cardigan Bay, also had elevated cancer rates; however, the prevalence of cancer was decreasing at other sites.

"The big question is, is the cancer we're seeing in fish the same as what we see in humans?" Dr Stentiford said at the British Association Festival of Science in Norwich.

In the laboratory, the liver tumours appeared outwardly to be no different from those found in mammals, including humans. It was still not known whether they were the same at the cellular level.

The scientists are looking for any links between fish and human cancer that might involve pollutants and are collaborating with experts from the Cancer Research UK Institute for Cancer Studies at Birmingham University. "Our ultimate aim is to see if there's a common causality between what is causing fish and human cancers," said Dr Stentiford.

Dr Brett Lyons, who is also on the research team, said: "The study of cancer in wild fish provides scientists with an important tool for monitoring the health of the marine environment."

The Food Standards Agency said it believed there was no risk to consumers from the fish but that it would investigate.

Duncan McLaren, the chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said campaigning had led to a fall in sea pollution, and he went on: "However, many of today's pollutants can have detrimental impacts, even at very low levels. So, it is certainly possible that what the scientists are seeing here is the result of pollution.

"These findings do underline the need to stop treating the seas around our coast as a dumping ground for human waste and pollution."

Meanwhile, the supermarket giant Asda yesterday joined calls for Britain to withdraw from the European Union's Common Fisheries Policy in order to protect the livelihoods of Scottish fishermen and preserve stocks in the North Sea. A similar call was made last week by the Scottish Seafood Processors' Federation.

Gordon Maddan, the company's regulatory affairs manager, said: "We want all the fish we sell to be sustainable. It's very clear, however, that the Common Fisheries Policy has failed to deliver this, so we are now supporting calls for a radical change in approach."

'We soon may be 100 times better at killing tumours'

CHEMOTHERAPY that has no side effects and is 100 times more effective at killing cancer than current drugs could be available in five years, scientists revealed yesterday.

Gold nanoparticles, which are so small that they are able to get inside cells, are used to deliver a drug called a photosensitiser to tumours, and these can then be activated with a beam of red light.

The drug, performing its role as a biological "Trojan Horse", then produces a toxic form of oxygen which leads to the death of the cell.

Because fast-growing cancer cells are "greedy", they devour the nanoparticles and, unlike healthy cells, do not spit them out again. This means that only cancerous cells are affected, so there are no side effects.

Research has so far been carried out only on cells in the laboratory, but trials involving animals are about to start in Italy.

If the new technique is eventually used on humans, it would also allow the use of drugs that are 100 times more effective at killing cancers, but which cannot be easily injected into patients because they are not soluble in water.

Professor David Russell, of East Anglia University, who is pioneering the technique, said funding would be key to the drug's development.


Edited by Flattieman
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