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The ECHO Research Fund is launched - 20th March 2004

ECHO is proud to announce that The ECHO Research Fund has been established to fund priority projects and research, directly related to the protection of the future of carp angling in the UK .

The Research fund was initiated after a meeting in November 2003 between CEFAS, the EA and ECHO in Reading where ECHO expressed its interest in funding research work. It was felt that this step was an essential one in ECHOs stance of ‘Making a Difference' with regards the welfare of our coarse fish stocks.

Without the financial support and impetus provided by ECHO, these projects would not be funded for a number of years into the future. The first project, due to start in March 2004, is the development and validation of a serological tool for KHV (Koi Herpes Virus) surveillance. This will enable fish to be screened for KHV reducing the potential for the disease to be transferred via otherwise ‘healthy' looking fish. The second project, due to start in September 2004, will be regarding SCMS (Spring Carp Mortality Syndrome) related fish deaths. The research will be based on the detection and identification of unculturable large DNA viruses that may be causing disease in fish populations. At present the causative agent of SCMS has yet to be confirmed but this project will lead to new methods to detect the presence of any unknown viruses in samples taken from fish kills believed to involve SCMS. The methodology created from this project has many other avenues in the identification of novel fish viruses besides that of SCMS.

Both projects are to be carried out in conjunction with both the Environment Agency and CEFAS. The majority of the research work will be carried out at the CEFAS laboratories in Weymouth .

ECHO is attending a meeting with the Department for the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). It is hoped, after this meeting, that all ECHO financial contributions to fish disease research projects with CEFAS and the EA will be matched, pound for pound, by DEFRA via the Committee on Aquaculture Research and Development (CARD).

The fund was started at the end of January 2004 with the transfer of £1,000.00 from the main ECHO account. As soon as finances allow, further funds will be transferred, ensuring that the membership has a direct contribution to this essential work.

Funding has also been sought from the carp angling industry and in November 2003 over 100 letters were sent to relevant companies. To date, the response has been limited, with only a few confirmed responses, but sincere thanks must be given to Danny Fairbrass and Korda for starting the ball rolling with a fantastic pledge of £1,000.00 and a significant donation from Carp Tech has boosted the funding account further still.

Approaches are also being made to the Ornamental Fish Industry, as the problem is not just angling related. It is considered important to co-ordinate all efforts to combat what is a very real threat to our sport and the industry as a whole. This will hopefully lead to further research into fish disease that threatens both the angling and ornamental industries.

All funds raised will be controlled directly by the ECHO Research Fund Committee that consists of Mick Barnes (Account Manager), Viv Shears (ECHO Vice Chairman) and Simon Scott (ECHO Fisheries Technical Advisor).

Regular Press Releases will be made by ECHO to detail the progress of both the fund-raising and the research in the near future.

The ECHO Research Fund - 24th January 2004

The English Carp Heritage Organisation has recently launched the ECHO Research Fund. This fund is aimed at raising revenue from the angling industry, anglers and other interested parties to co fund research into novel fish diseases that are currently, or likely to be in the future, a severe threat to UK carp and coarse fisheries. This work will be carried out in conjunction with both The Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) and the Environment Agency.

The prevention and eradication of fish diseases, especially Spring Viraemia of Carp, Spring Carp Mortality Syndrome and Koi Herpes Virus, is particularly important to the nation's fisheries in the present situation of potential climate change. The climate changes could lead to extensive outbreaks of these diseases in the predicted warmer waters of the future. Such research might be the key, which prevents extensive future outbreaks and gives us all a better understanding of other fish diseases and their progress through fish populations.

ECHO hopes that this will encourage anglers in general, and carp anglers in particular, to be a far more responsible and professional body, capable of adopting a more positive role, in partnership with the authorities, in respect of fish welfare and understanding the importance of tackling disease. This proposed project has received widespread support in the press and is backed by the SAA, NAA and the Moran Committee.

ECHO is also in the process of applying to DEFRA, via the Committee for Aquaculture Research and Development (CARD) which sets priorities for future R&D, for government funding matching the figure that ECHO raises from within the industry.

More details on this as the research starts this year.

Angling groups act to halt illegal fish imports
- 24th January 2004

The Moran Committee is pleased to give its backing to The English Carp Heritage Organisation (ECHO) in its bid to promote sweeping changes in fishery legislation.

ECHO is a 1,300 strong protection group fighting against the illegal importation of carp and other coarse species into the UK , and it is lobbying for tougher legislation on this important matter. Many coarse fish imported from mainland Europe have been obtained illegally, and they are able to act as carriers of potentially fatal diseases to which UK fish have no immunity. The consequences can be, and have been, widespread mortalities in fisheries where such fish have been introduced.

Already actively working with the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), the Environment Agency (EA) and the Specialist Anglers' Alliance (SAA), ECHO believes that their voice can only add weight to the demands for new legislation to protect the future of angling and fisheries at home and abroad.

Ian Chillcott, ECHO founder and chairman said:

This is a huge and exciting step forward in the battle against the flood of illegally imported fish that threaten our sport. ECHO has always understood the need to link angling with Governmental organisations and offer a united front in order to achieve the sweeping changes angling requires to safeguard its own future. To have gained the full backing of the Moran Committee has forged another crucial political link and we are delighted that they have given us their support”.

“Echo has become a vitally important link between anglers and Government bodies like CEFAS and the EA. Now we also have the potential to air our views direct to Government through the Moran Committee. This new link is provided by the SAA and makes us a much more powerful voice in the political arena.”

The Moran Committee will place the ECHO campaign on its agenda at meetings with key Government departments, English Nature and other influential organisations.

Cefas: 01305 206681

Environment Agency National Fish Movement Team: 01840 414581

- 21st November 2003

On the 15 th October members of the ECHO steering committee met with Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) to develop stronger working communications and activities between the two groups. Of prime concern were ECHO's widely acclaimed objectives halting the barbaric illegal importation of carp and other coarse fish species into the UK and to lobby for tougher legislation regarding the legal importation of such fish into the United Kingdom.

Tim Marks, SAA Vice President said:

“The efforts of ECHO in highlighting the endemic problems with the importation of carp, whether legally or illegally, into this country has brought the matter to the attention of not only the grass roots angler but also those involved that deal directly with legislation covering this area. With the popular support that ECHO has raised and the SAA's connections into fishery legislative groups a strong partnership is developing that will, without doubt, benefit the future of UK fisheries.”

Ian Chillcott, ECHO Founder and Chairman said:

“Prior to this meeting our working relationship with the SAA was good. Following this meeting it became clear to committee members and myself that the SAA and ECHO working more closely together is even more vital to achieve both of the organisations objectives. We have a great opportunity between ourselves, the SAA, NAA, Moran Committee CEFAS and the EA to have a positive impact regarding the importation of coarse fish into our country.”

Chris Burt, SAA Vice President said:

“The result of the meeting between ECHO and ourselves has strengthened both groups resolve to bring about legislative change regarding illegal imports that have threatened, and are continuing to do so, our native carp and coarse fish stocks.

It has also given us an invaluable opportunity to forge new links to move forward representation for carp anglers”

Visit WebsiteAngling Publications Back ECHO - 6th November 2003

Tim Paisley confirmed that ECHO will have the full support of 'Angling Publications' in this Novembers issue of Carpworld. The support was confirmed in a reply from Tim to a Press Release from the Carp Society which also saw the withdrawal of Angling Publications support for the Society.

Speaking on behalf of ECHO 'Chilly' commented "firstly on behalf of ECHO I would like to thank Tim and Angling Publications for their support. It is a big step forward for us and has already helped to raise the profile of the organisation and the membership levels, and it also proves ECHO is an organisation to be taken seriously and is here to stay"

Click here to read the Carp Society's Press Release and Tim's reply, or why not buy Carpworld which this month also has articles from both of ECHO's front men, Chilly and Jenks.

Very shortly the next issue of "ECHOES" will be posted out to all our members, and it looks like being the best issue yet!

There has also been some confusion over renewal subscriptions. Renewals are due every April, and if you have not received your "ECHOES" magazine by the 28th of November, then please contact the membership secretary at the ECHO office at Yateley Angling Centre, by post.

Early in the New Year, existing members will be receiving standing order information that will make your renewal process a lot easier.

Thank you for your support,


A CEFAS Perspective on ECHO - 13th October 2003

As the government agency responsible for preventing the spread of serious fish disease in England and Wales, CEFAS (Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) is keen to work with any responsible group or organisation to prevent the introduction and spread of disease. CEFAS is therefore particularly pleased to be associated with the aims and objectives of the English Carp Heritage Organisation (ECHO).

The creation of ECHO in 2002 represented an enormous step forward for UK carp fishing. By encouraging and educating anglers to be more aware of their own responsibilities towards protecting our indigenous stocks, particularly against diseases introduced by illegally imported fish, it has significantly improved the status and reputation of fishing in general, and carp angling in particular.

ECHO has succeeded in unifying a large and growing section of the UK's angling and fisheries fraternity. Its development, in terms of influence and direction, is encouraging the setting of new and improved standards in angling, fish welfare and fisheries management across the industry. Its expanding influence in mainland Europe will also serve to educate others, thus further helping to prevent illegal imports of live fish entering the UK.

It has proved itself to be a responsible and highly respected organisation. We look forward to working closely with ECHO in the future, and we wish them continued success.

Eric Hudson

Head of CEFAS Inspectorate.

PRESS RELEASE FROM CEFAS - 10th October 2003

FISH SMUGGLING - To be or not to be - that is the question.

It's that time of the year again when temperatures fall, along with the leaves and the hopes of all sane anglers that the fish smugglers have seen the error of their ways and have decided instead to join ECHO, or go to church, or even take the kids out for the day. Such thoughts are dreams made of. The reality is that this sordid little band are probably already planning their next trips to the continent with the prospect of easy money, and to hell with the consequences.

Some may use their own vehicle, whilst others will hire a van. Some will buy the fish cheaply, and others will just steal them. Some may question whether it is safe to try to come in through Dover whilst others may try alternative ports such as Harwich, Southampton, or perhaps Portsmouth, which is the port favoured by one suspected smuggler. Some will go out on one route and come back in on another. Others may get some 'extras' put in with a legitimate consignment. Some may do it themselves, whilst others will get one lame brain to go and catch them and another to collect them. Should they get the fish direct from eastern Europe or wait until they have been laundered in western Europe? Decisions, decisions. But none are concerned with the welfare of fish or the spread of disease.

But the smugglers should understand that while they have been doing their planning, a lot of other people have also been putting plans in place. Things have changed a good deal in recent years and whatever tactics the smugglers employ it's likely to be a little bit more difficult for them this year than last year. Just as last year was a bit more difficult than the year before that.

The CEFAS inspectorate publicly declared some time ago that it would never be able to stop illegal imports of live fish on its own, and it sought the help of other agencies, anglers, the press and people in the fish and fisheries trade at home and abroad. That help has been forthcoming, due in large part to the dedication and leadership provided by ECHO and the support of the angling press. These efforts have not been directed simply towards helping CEFAS stop consignments coming in but aimed specifically at 'education - not condemnation,' thus effectively increasing the awareness of the problem and reducing the market for smuggled foreign fish. The results have been phenomenal.

CEFAS cannot claim that everything is perfectly in place and that no fish will come in illegally. What it can claim, however, is that with this continuing support, life for the smuggler is likely to be less comfortable and less profitable in future. Their miserable activities are no longer acceptable to a growing number of dedicated anglers, thus the chances of them being identified, caught and prosecuted have significantly improved.

Over the long hot summer there appears to have been little activity by the smugglers, but no one is kidding themselves that this situation will continue. CEFAS, along with colleagues in the Environment Agency, police, HM Customs, State Veterinary Service and other agencies at home and abroad are aware of the situation and the likely increase in activity over the coming months. The Gendarmerie and the Garde de Peche are more than a little interested in events in France, as are the RVV inspectors in Holland. ECHO's continental members have also expressed a particular interest in the matter.

We will be doing as much as we can to stop disease being brought into the country, but we can do so much more with good information.

If any of your readers has any information concerning fish smuggling please contact CEFAS in confidence. Alternatively, they may prefer to contact ECHO or the Environment Agency's National Fish Movements Team who will pass on the information to us. Either way, just do it! Do it for the good of your sport and the welfare of your fish.

Steve Maidment
CEFAS Investigations Inspector

To contact CEFAS:
Tel: 01305-206681 (Out of hours answer-phone facility)
Main office: 01305 - 206673
Fax: 01305 - 206602
Mobile: 07771-977273
E Mail:

To contact ECHO:
Tel: 01252 861486
(in emergency contact 07720 274514)

To contact the EA's National Fish Movement Team:
Tel: 01840 414581
Out of hours: 0800 807060

An SAA Perspective on ECHO

ECHO provides a much needed focus for caring carp anglers. The efforts of Chilly and Co have already made a huge difference to the way that carp anglers are perceived, both within and outside the sport.

The Specialist Anglers' Alliance (SAA and formerly the SACG) has been crying out for input from carp anglers for many years. We have been very aware of the problems facing carp and carp waters in this country but historically have not had the resources to effectively combat many of these problems.

The development of ECHO into a mainstream, open membership, structure has transformed the early perception of ECHO (more correctly ECLA) as a slightly inward looking, single issue group into a wide ranging, campaigning organization. Indeed the efforts of ECHO in galvanizing carp anglers into supporting the 'Stop a Smuggler' campaign have been recognized by both the National Angling Alliance (NAA) and the Moran Committee. These two bodies provide the link between mainstream angling representation and the government, so their support for ECHO and the campaign is no small matter.

SAA can provide ECHO with further such contacts within angling representation and maybe some advice on where your efforts can be best directed. We have been in this game since 1990 (as SACG) and have made plenty of mistakes along the way, so maybe we can help ECHO avoid some of the same pitfalls.

Finally the way to change how things are done is to get inside the system and effect change from within. The concept behind SAA (and the NAA and Moran for that matter) is one of mutual support. If one angling body highlights an issue for attention, then by working together all the other member groups can lend their support. That way we maximize the number of anglers speaking with a common voice. As somebody once said 'it is better to be on the inside pissing out, than on the outside pissing in!"

Here's to a long and productive association.

Tim Marks

Vice President SAA
September 2003

ECHO gains 'National Angling Alliance' support

In June 2003 ECHO was delighted to confirm that The National Angling Alliance (NAA) was to give its backing to us in our attempts to change fishery legislation regarding the illegal importation of carp and other coarse fish into the UK. Many coarse fish imported from mainland Europe have been obtained illegally, and they are able to act as carriers of potentially fatal diseases to which UK fish have no immunity. The consequences can be - and have been - widespread fish mortalities in fisheries where such fish have been introduced.

Ian Chillcott, ECHO Founder and Chairman said :

"This is a huge and exciting step forward in the battle against the flood of illegally imported fish that threaten our sport. ECHO has always understood the need to link angling with Governmental organisations and offer a united front in order to achieve the sweeping changes requires to safeguard its own future. To have gained the full backing of the NAA has forged another crucial political link and we are delighted that they have given us their support"

" ECHO has become a vitally important link between anglers and Government bodies like CEFAS and the EA. Now we also have the potential to air our views direct to the Government through the Moran Committee and the NAA. This new link is provided by the SAA and makes us a much more powerful voice in the political arena."

In the next few months the NAA intends to place the ECHO campaign on its agenda at meetings with key governmental departments, English Nature and other influential organisations.

Members of the NAA are:

Angling Trade Association
National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives
National Federation of Anglers
National Federation of Sea Anglers
Salmon & Trout association
Specialist Anglers Alliance


On Thursday the chairman of the English Carp Heritage Organisation, Ian 'Chillie' Chilcott, accompanied by ECHO committee member Viv Shears of RMC Angling, gave a talk to government scientists and fish health inspectors at their CEFAS laboratories in Weymouth. Representative from the Environment Agency were also present.

In a 'no holds barred' session Ian made an impassioned appeal on behalf of anglers for all of the various government and non-government agencies involved in fish and fisheries to work together to protect the heritage of English carp and other species for future generations. He gave the angler's perspective on the dangers of importing diseased fish from abroad and illustrated the possible consequences of a widespread disease outbreak on the sport, and on those with an interest in it.

He stressed the need for more research to be carried out to obtain a clearer understanding of how to identify and prevent the various forms of fish disease. "Fish identification is another important area for research. We have come an awful long way in the past two years" said Ian, "but it's widely accepted by the vast majority of anglers who care about fish that things have still got to change. We've got to care more about these beautiful creatures and protect them, if we are to keep them for future generations. The way fish are being moved about all over the continent, and then put in large numbers into puddles over here where they can be caught time and time again is wrong - we all know its wrong. It should be about more than just money."

In his response, the head of the CEFAS inspectorate Eric Hudson, thanked ECHO for the tremendous boost which CEFAS had received from the organisation, and from the popular fishing press, in it's attempts to combat illegal imports of live fish. He agreed that it was only when everyone worked together that problems are overcome. He went on to say that much progress had been made in this area but that there was much still to do. He said CEFAS would be very keen to develop a research programme with ECHO once the subject areas are identified. He added that work was already underway at the laboratory on a number of projects which may help in some of the areas which had been discussed.

After hearing a talk on the work of the CEFAS inspectorate Ian and Viv were shown around the laboratory and spoke enthusiastically to various scientists who are currently involved in fish disease research and development projects. All were keen to involve themselves in new and developing areas of research work, particularly on practical projects aimed at the long-term protection of our fish and the environment."

"It's been an eye-opener for us" said Viv, "The facilities here are fabulous, and the keenness of everyone we spoke to was good to see. They're as keen as we are to find solutions. I'm very encouraged."