FISHERMEN working on a new project to help shape a sustainable future for the fishing industry and marine wildlife around Anglesey had a chance to explain their work to a Welsh Government minister yesterday.
In Port Penrhyn, Bangor, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture Food and Fisheries, Alun Davies, saw at first hand how information on fishing activity was gathered from fishermen, and combined with information on the area’s wildlife habitats and their sensitivity.
The information, in map form, will give a clear picture of the type and level of fishing activities taking place in various natural habitats.
The maps will be a basis to develop options for sustainable fisheries management – showing which areas are vulnerable to fishing activities and others which are more robust.
Mr Davies said: “I have been very impressed. For an activity to be truly sustainable it has to take into consideration the local economy and communities as well as the natural environment and this project aims to do both. It is an excellent example of interested groups working together to achieve a sustainable, workable future.
“Today’s visit has illustrated that the project has the potential to improve the management of our seas for the benefit of wildlife and for those whose livelihoods depend on them by finding agreed, sustainable solutions to fisheries management. I am delighted to see the progress made so far and wish the project the very best.”
Developed initially for the sea area around Anglesey and the Menai Strait the project, if successful, could be applied to other sea areas around Wales in time. The Fish Map Môn project is run by the Countryside Council for Wales, working with the North Wales Fishermen’s Cooperative Ltd, Bangor Mussel Producers Ltd, the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers and North Wales Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited (NWFCL).
James Wilson, on behalf of Bangor Mussel Producers Ltd said: “We are happy to be involved in a closely integrated project that will examine, in an innovative way, the crossover between fisheries and environmental needs. We hope the work will provide information that, in time, will be useful for marine spatial planning and developing an ecosystem-based approach to managing the marine environment.”
The project is funded by the EU from the cash it receives from the UK government, and aims to help achieve the vision of the Wales Fisheries Strategy – to “support the development of viable and sustainable fisheries in Wales as an integral part of coherent policies for safeguarding the environment.”
Deputy Minister Alun Davies also visited the Food Technology Centre at Coleg Menai to see how Welsh Government support was helping the centre to help new food producers in Wales.
As part of the Welsh Food Added Value project funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales, the centre works with local food producers and processors to encourage them to work together to develop new high quality products that add value to the core produce. The project also provides research and development facilities and technical support.Š
During his visit, Mr Davies met staff and saw the facilities and technology available at the centre as well as sampling some of the produce that the centre has helped to create, including some of the ten new products that he helped to launch at the Royal Welsh Show this year.