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Over 500,000 Granted To Restore Rivers

WALES, UK - Volunteers have secured over 500,000 to work towards restoring one county's fish stocks through river improvements.

A project in Carmarthenshire awarded over half a million pounds in Welsh Assembly Government and EU funding to restore the county’s rivers and wetlands to their former glory has been officially launched by the Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones.

The Carmarthenshire Rivers Trust (CRT) project, which has been awarded over £525,000 in funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), will focus on delivering improvements to water quality, habitat restoration and to restore access for migratory fish through the creation of easements and fish passes.

The Carmarthen Rivers Trust project is one of seven projects that have been awarded Welsh Assembly Government and EFF funding so far, awarded as part the second round of funding worth more than £4m that was announced by the Rural Affairs Minister in November. This followed £930,000 that has been awarded in the first round of funding announced in July.

During the visit, the Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones said: “I'm pleased to officially launch the Carmarthenshire Rivers Trust project which aims to improve the ecological condition of Carmarthenshire's rivers to be enjoyed by all.

“Not only will this work bring environmental benefits, but by increasing the numbers of fish in our rivers, it will also provide for greater angling opportunities for local fisherman and visitors from further afield."

The main fishery rivers of the Tywi, Taf, Llwchwr and Gwendraeth, all support salmon, sea trout and brown trout which are economically important as they attract large numbers of local and visiting anglers.

The Minister added: “The Tywi is renowned as one of the premier sea trout rivers in Western Europe and is a leading UK salmon fishery.

“Angling is a major contributor to the Welsh economy. Surveys of inland and sea fishing activity suggest that, in 2005, the total spend on angling was £148.4 million per year and that a high proportion of that money, £63.8 million, actually stays in Wales, supporting more than 1,500 jobs.

“The funding for this project will allow the Trust to continue their very positive work – work which is undertaken by a dedicated force of volunteers. I’m extremely grateful to them for all their hard work."

Chairman of the Carmarthenshire Rivers Trust, Gethyn Thomas said: We are hugely indebted to the Welsh Assembly Government for their tremendous support in contributing 25 per cent towards the 75 per cent European grant. We are also most grateful to our colleagues in the Wye & Usk Foundation for their invaluable advice and ongoing support. We will now be able, through our ASG 2009 project to increase substantially access for migratory fish and restore river habitats across the County.

"We will deliver 150 km of additional spawning habitat through barrier removals and the construction of 120 fish passes. 29 km of targeted river habitat restoration. 34 km of acidified headwaters will be limed to restore water quality."

the Fish Site Editor

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