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Falkland Islands: Weekly Penguin News update

Friday, August 31st 2007 - 21:00 UTC
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Visiting Masters student B. Perry (left) and biologist D. Fowler extract eggs from zebra trout at the aquaculture farm Visiting Masters student B. Perry (left) and biologist D. Fowler extract eggs from zebra trout at the aquaculture farm

Headlines:
World first for aquaculture?; Thorogood named as new Chief Executive; Headteacher is a well-travelled man; Man on bail leaves Islands; Daylight Saving.

World first for aquaculture?THE Aquaculture Project may just have achieved an international first. At some point on Sunday evening, the twenty male and female zebra trout that are currently held on site began to spawn. This is believed to be the first time that zebra trout (Aplochiton zebra)have spawned in captivity and represents an important step in the culture of this species. If a species cannot or will not reproduce in captivity, it is of limited aquaculture potential. Whilst the aquaculture team cannot take all the credit for the production of eggs in captivity, they are entitled to feel pleased with their efforts. Biologist, Dan Fowler, commented, "That the fish are breeding successfully shows that they are content and not stressed, and this is down to the work of the guys on the site. However, we still have a big task ahead of us to keep things moving and hopefully produce fry that we can grow to adult size." Zebra trout are found both here and in Patagonia, where they are also under threat from introduced salmonids, such as trout and salmon. Little is known about their reproductive biology, and the aquaculture teams are hoping that by studying the eggs they can glean an extra insight into their lifecycle. The adult fish, collected from Half-way House creek near North Arm, spawned on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night. Between the ten females held, they released thousands of small sticky eggs, swimming on their sides in order to place the eggs on the vertical walls of the tank, with the males in hot pursuit. "This makes us think that they lay their eggs on overhanging vegetation or something solid in the streams, meaning the fry will hatch in fresh water, rather than the eggs flowing to the sea, and the larvae hatching in salt water," said Dan, "but there are still a lot of questions that need answering." Thorogood named as new Chief ExecutiveTIM THOROGOOD is to be the new Chief Executive of the Falkland Islands Government (FIG). Pre-contract formalities will now begin but it is expected that Dr Thorogood will arrive in the Islands, with his wife, Alison, in January 2008. According to a statement from Gilbert House, Dr Thorogood has extensive experience in local government in the UK having been a Director with Three Rivers District Council and the London Borough of Haringey before becoming Chief Executive of Swansea City and County Council in March 2003. He is currently Chief Executive of the Local Government Information Unit, a national policy and service improvement organisation aimed at strengthening local government in the UK, a post he has held since July 2006. Councillor Mike Summers said this is a "key appointment" to the government, "...and one that requires energy, enthusiasm and commitment as well as relevant skills and experience." He said he and his colleagues are satisfied they have found, "...the right person for the next stage of our development," and look forward to working with Mr Thorogood to carry out the programmes and projects in hand. As a child, Dr Thorogood lived for two years in the Islands. His father, Rupert, was the first Cable and Wireless representative to the Islands and brought a team with him to install a new telecomms system for the ESRO Research Station in the 1960s. Simpkins turns down interviewThe outgoing Chief Executive has turned down a request from Penguin Newsfor a final interview before his departure. After viewing the questions Managing Editor Jenny Cockwell intended to ask, Mr Simpkins said he was not prepared to respond. The questions focused on some of the more controversial issues of Mr Simpkins tenure, from bullying in government to the private prosecution brought against him by a Stanley housewife in 2004, and also about how he viewed the future of agriculture and coastal shipping in the Islands. Mr Simpkins told Penguin Newsthat some of the questions, "...seek comment on matters that it would, in my opinion, be improper for any official to comment upon and others seek to breathe life into long extinguished fires and I won't be drawn into it." Mr Simpkins said he intended to leave the Islands quietly, "...no doubt with flag waving by some, rather than with a bang!" Headteacher is a well-travelled manALASTAIR BALDWIN, the new headteacher at the Community School, is now in the Islands. Since his arrival late last week he has been busy meeting colleagues and getting to know the school, its staff and systems. Born in Malta, and brought up in Southern Rhodesia, (now Zimbabwe), he brings a, "...wealth of experience both as a teacher and headteacher," the Director of Education says. Beginning his career in Harare, he has taught in the UK, India, Qatar, Thailand, China and Mozambique. Alastair is accompanied by his wife Meilin, who is known as 'Apple'. He says he has been "delighted" with his first impressions of the Islands. Everyone he has met has been, "...welcoming, friendly and very helpful" and he is looking forward to his new post, "...and taking a full and active part in the community." Man on bail leaves IslandsA MAN managed to leave the Islands last Saturday despite being subject to a police bail order. The man had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly in a public place at Mount Pleasant Airport. The police are unable to apply any bail conditions on a person who is released on police bail during an investigation before charge and the man was, therefore, in possession of his passport. Acting Chief of Police, Inspector Len McGill commented, "If the person returns to the Falkland Islands and I do not believe that he will, the appropriate action would be taken in relation to his failure to answer bail and in relation to the offence for which he was arrested." He said the nature of the principal offence is such that it has been decided not to expend money and resources on returning the man to the Islands. Daylight SavingSummer time begins this weekend. Government clocks will be advanced one hour at 2am on Sunday, September 2.

Categories: Politics, Falkland Islands.

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