July 31, 2008
Don ‘t Banus From Our Own Fishing Grounds
By HYWEL TREWYN
LOBSTER fishermen on the Lly'n Peninsula fear losing their livelihoods if plans for "no take" zones by conservationists go ahead.
The draft Marine Bill - now out to consultation - proposes to manage the marine environment "in a better way" as part of the Government's commitment to improving nature conservation at sea.
However Lly'n Pot Fishermen's Association fears the Bill will mean establishing "notake" zones stopping them potting for lobster, crab, prawn and whelks.
The association, formed last year to protect the area's fishing industry, represents dozens of licensed fishermen.
Theywork full time out of coves and harbours around the peninsula, including Porth Colmon, Aberdaron, Abersoch and Pwllheli, and their families are dependent on their catches.
Association spokesmen Iwan Hughes and Sion Williams said they wanted to protect their traditional fisheries and ensure they could continue to catch high quality seafood.
They said: "There are plans in the pipeline by conservationist groups to establish highly-protectedmarine nature reserves in Wales.
"These plans would mean fishing would be prohibited in certain areas around the coast - these no take zones could have a devastating effect on the livelihoods of fishermenwhomay be prohibited from fishing some of their traditional fishing grounds."
There are also Welsh Assembly proposals to abolish sea fisheries committeeswhich regulate and police the industry.
Mr Hughes said: "We as an association feel it is highly important fishermen's voices are heard and the Assembly listens to our opinions on matters involving Welsh fisheries.
"The inshore fisheries are the backbone of the Welsh fishing industry and we feel the Assembly should give priority to this part of the industry in order to protect small, sustainable businesses."
On Tuesday the fishermen met with Welsh Assembly minister Elin Jones at Aberdaron to voice their concerns.
Countryside Council for Wales spokeswoman Helen Veans said: "In Wales, we hope to create some Highly Protected Marine Reserves.
Here, marine wildlife can go undisturbed and recover to a more natural state.
"Consultation with all those who depend on and use the marine environment will be at the heart of this new opportunity."
AWelsh Assembly spokesperson said; "WAG believes a single management and enforcement body will best suit Welsh needs.
Proposals for the WAG to assume full responsibility for fisheries management and enforcement in Wales are being consulted on at the moment and we welcome the views of the industry. The Minister and officials are continuing to work with all interested parties."
These no take zones could have a devastating effect on the livelihoods of fishermen
Iwan Hughes and Sion Williams
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