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Smart Fishing, the Way Forward for Wales

WALES - It is no longer recognisable from its thriving post-war years, but Steffan Rhys finds the fishing industry in Wales looking optimistically to the future

According to his article in the Western Mail, welsh fishermen have not been concerned with large-scale fishing for decades and now have around 460 smaller vessels concentrating on inshore fishing – done within 12 miles of the shore – where they have an abundance of shellfish unhindered by the quotas which restrict the numbers of fish the larger, offshore vessels can catch.

The Welsh sea fishing boats, the vast majority of which are under 10 metres long, are mostly potters, fishing for lobster, crab, prawns, and to a lesser extent, whitefish and whelk. There is also a small rod fishing industry for desirable fish like bass.

“In broad summary, the inshore sector is relatively buoyant,” says Dr Stephen Atkins, chief executive of the North Western and North Wales Sea Fisheries Committee. “The shellfish sector is buoyant and mussel growth is particularly strong in the Menai Strait. Lobster fishing is doing well and so is scallop fishing, though there are environmental concerns as to its impact."

But there are several reasons to be positive about the Welsh fishing industry, worth around £200m and 3,000 direct and indirect jobs to the nation’s economy.

For the first time, Wales has its own sea fishing strategy overseen by different fishermen’s associations – one in the North, one in the South, and one for all of Wales – who have been able to develop projects whilst drawing funding from Europe.

From April 1, the Welsh Assembly Government takes over responsibility for its own fisheries enforcement from the Marine and Fisheries Agency, a development warmly welcomed by the Welsh Federation Fishermen’s Association.

View the Western Mail story by clicking here.