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Global hackers to solve fishy issue

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Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 10.54.54A HOST of different hackers from around the globe recently battled it out to help solve a problem set by a Pembrokeshirebased scientist.

Between Friday April 2 2 and Sunday (Apr 24), hackers aided in filling crucial gaps in what we currently know about the state of fisheries around the world.

An army of 2,000 coders gathered in 43 different host cities across six continents for the third annual Fishackathon, solving a problem set by the Welsh ecological consultancy Salacia-Marine, WWF, Young’s Seafood and the US-based Billfish Foundation.

The coders were set the task of inventing a technology which would allow fishermen to reliably gather data about fish length and species from images taken by the on-board cameras, which is a crucial element to take into account when assessing the health of global fish stocks.

Dr Andy Woolmer, Pembrokeshire-based Marine Scientist and founder of Salacia- Marine, said: “A fundamental measurement we need is the length of the fish being caught. This gives us an indication of ages and, together with data on how many fish are being taken from the water, we can use it to derive a range of other important statistics which can help us manage fisheries more sustainably.

“At the moment, this data is available for less than half the global catch. Traditionally we’ve relied on measuring fish by hand at sea, which is time-consuming and expensive.

“If the Fishackathon can come up with a solution to our problem, it has the potential to transform our knowledge of fish stocks around the world.”

The challenge was developed in partnership with fishermen as part of the Cardiff-based EU LIFE+ funded Celtic Seas Partnership, a WWFled project aiming to bring people together to create a more sustainable future for our marine environment.

This challenge is one of nine selected by a global panel of experts. The Fishackathon was established by the US State Department to find ways of overcoming the big technical hurdles facing sustainable fishing.

WWF-UK’s Head of Marine Policy Dr Lyndsey Dodds said: “Fish are a critical part of the global marine ecosystem. Millions of people around the world depend on fish for their livelihoods and more than three billion of us rely on seafood as a major source of protein.

“In 2015, our Living Blue Planet report showed that populations of some marine species around the world, including a number of important fish populations, are in decline.

“WWF is working with the fishing industry to help identify solutions to some of the problems faced in achieving sustainable fisheries.

“By putting this problem forward to the Fishackathon with industry partners, we hope the hackers can help us find a solution that’s not just applicable in the UK but across the world.”

The problem which has been put forward to the Fishackathon builds on the previous winning solution ‘Fish-otron’, which showed how it is possible to make quick and accurate length measurements from images collected by the on-board boat cameras.

However, at the moment there is no technology that can distinguish, reliably, between the different species of commercial fish. What is hoped would be created in this year’s Fishackathon is a piece of tech that can both provide this alongside length measurements of fish.

David Parker, Marine Biologist and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Young’s Seafood Limited, said: “As the UK’s leading fish and seafood business, we understand that our planet is precious and that we must respect and help to preserve its natural resources.

“Our ‘Fish for Life’ sustainability programme is the way we seek to improve our impact in everything we do and we’re pleased to be supporting the Fishackathon by giving a speech and offering Young’s food to those taking part at the London event.

“This innovative event will help to generate new ideas and solutions for assessing the health of fish stocks, which is vitally important to us as we believe in doing the right thing for people and the planet, now and for generations to come.”

The winning coders from the Fishackathon will be selected by a panel of judges and announced on Wednesday June 8 to coincide with World Oceans Day.

A total of $10,000 will be up for grabs in prizes, and one team’s creation will be further developed independently with an investment from the US Government.

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The Pembrokeshire man on the Titanic

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ON the morning of April 15 1912, in the North Atlantic some 450-miles south of Newfoundland, the RMS Titanic slowly slid beneath the sea just two hours and forty minutes after hitting an iceberg.

Stories from that night are famous, from the lookouts misplacing their binoculars to the ship’s band playing even as the sea washed over their feet, the sinking of the Titanic holds a special place in the public consciousness and continues to grab our attention some 109 years after the ‘unsinkable’ ship sank.

Over 1500 people lost their lives in the biggest maritime naval disaster at that point.

Among the dead were American and British millionaires, White Star Line employees and countless anonymous immigrants from across Europe who were all seeking a better life in America.

908 crew were on board the Titanic when it left Southampton on its fateful maiden voyage, one of the crew was a man called Charles Essex Edwards, 38, who sometimes gave himself the first name of ‘Clement’.

Charles was born in 1862 to John and Harriet Edwards of St. Martin’s Place, Haverfordwest.

He worked as a carpenter as a 19-year-old man and would end up moving out of Pembrokeshire and going to sea.  By the time he married a lady called Lavinia Ann Poulter, from Llanstadwell, in May 1892 he was living in Newport.

Lavinia, a Pembrokeshire woman herself, was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Poulter who lived on Lawrenny Terrace in Neyland.

By 1895, Lavinia had returned to Pembrokeshire following the death of her mother. Charles and Lavinia’s marriage suffered but Charles would continue visiting Lavinia and stayed at his father-in-law’s house when he was on shore leave.

Although still married in the eyes of the law, Charles and Lavinia were basically separated by 1901.

Charles signed on to work on the brand new RMS Titanic after it had completed its sea trials in Belfast Lough, he gave his address as 7 Brunswick Square, Southampton. He worked on the Titanic as an assistant pantry-man steward who earned a monthly wage of £3 15s on his previous ship the SS Zeeland.

SS Zeeland: The ship Charles worked on before the Titanic

When RMS Titanic left Southampton a massive crowd had gathered to see the newest addition to the White Star Line fleet depart. Charles Edwards was there. He was there when the ship picked up more passengers at Cherbourg and Cobh.

He would’ve been working during the day, his job entailed keeping the ship’s pantries stocked with food and wine, a vital job on a ship with such a high-class passenger list as the Titanic.

He was, more than likely, sleeping when Frederick Fleet spotted an iceberg in the ship’s path at 11:40pm on Sunday, April 14. He would’ve been woken by the noise of metal on ice and the ship shuddering as it was torn open on the starboard side.

As the ‘unsinkable’ ship took on water Charles, as a White Star Line employee, would’ve been given the unenviable task of waking up passengers, informing them of what happened and getting them to put on their lifejackets.

Once the scale of the situation on the Titanic became apparent, the command structure effectively disintegrated.

Captain Edward Smith would’ve cut a forlorn figure as he wandered around near the wheelhouse and his last words to his crew, according to reports at the time were:

“Well boys, you’ve done your duty and done it well. I ask no more of you. I release you.

“You know the rule of the sea. It’s every man for himself now, and God bless you.”

This would’ve been around 2:10am, at that point Charles would’ve faced a literal up-hill battle with male members of the crew only having a 24% chance of survival and many people gathering ‘like bees’ on the stern of the stricken liner which, experts say, raised to a 12 degree angle.

The Pantryman-stewards from the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic

Many male crew members elected to stay at their posts as, according to Victorian culture it was better for men to die than to live and be perceived a coward, so the lights of the ship remained on until about 2:18am, just two minutes before Titanic broke apart and began its journey to its final resting place some 12,000ft below on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

But now you know there was a man named Charles Edwards who was born in Haverfordwest and who died when the Titanic sank in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. His body, if it was recovered, was never identified and we don’t even have a picture of him.

When news of the disaster broke, The Pembroke County Guardian described the tragedy as ‘one of the most appalling calamities in the long history of shipwreck’.

Four men from Maenclochog, it was later revealed, had a lucky escape as their plans to emigrate that April on the Titanic were thwarted by one of their number being unable to travel, so the group decided to wait for their friend. That decision saved their lives.

Pembrokeshire responded to the sinking by raising money for the Titanic Relief Fund, Pembroke Dock raised £12 2s 0d through a collection at the Royal Dockyard and, in Haverfordwest, Sidney White, who would later go on to own The Palace Cinema, hosted benefit performances to packed houses which raised £5 15s.

Lavinia, after a legal battle with Charles’ brother William, was given £192 in compensation for Charles’ death and went on to look after her father at Railway Terrace, Neyland until he passed away.

Lavinia went on to move to Middlesex where she lived until 1934. She left her estate to her chauffeur.

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Marloes pensioner in child abuse images case

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A PENSIONER has been bailed to attend Swansea Crown Court by magistrates sitting in Haverfordwest Law Courts this week.

Derek Lister, 72, of Marloes is accused of making indecent photographs of children.

He appeared before the bench, on Tuesday (Apr 13).

Lister was represented by Redkite Solicitors.

The court heard that between June 2009 and November 2019 in Marloes, Pembrokeshire, Lister allegedly created 3 indecent category A images of a child, 14 indecent category B images of a child and 152 indecent category C images of a child.

He will now appear at Swansea Crown Court on May 11 at 10am for the next hearing after the local court declined jurisdiction.

Lister has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Derek Lister: Accused of making child abuse images
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Primary school teacher described as ‘touchy-feely’ on day two of trial

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A HAVERFORDWEST primary school teacher, accused of sexually assaulting his pupils was “very touchy-feely”, Swansea Crown Court heard on the second day of his trial.

James Oulton, 34, of Haverfordwest would put his hands around students’ waists and touch their bottoms, an ex-female pupil said in a video interview played to Swansea Crown Court.

The defendant denies 30 charges of sexual assault at a primary school in Haverfordwest. The alleged offences took place between 2012 and 2018.

On the opening day of the trial, court heard that Oulton said the case was a “witch-hunt” and that he always behaved appropriately with children.

On Tuesday, the jury watched the video interview with one of Oulton’s former pupils, who said he was a “friendly person, very chatty and sociable and quite outgoing and wanted to know everything that was going on.”

She added: “Mr Oulton often wanted to know a lot of details on what we had done over the weekend, where we had been, and also who they had been with.”

“At the time I just thought he was trying to be really friendly but now when I look back at it now, it does seem odd.”

The witness also described the defendant as a “very touchy-feely teacher”.

She added: “If he was marking your work or if you approached him to ask him a question, he would put his hands around your waist or around your bum”.

“If he was standing by his desk, he would, like, motion to his knee, so he wouldn’t ask you directly to sit on his lap but he would tap his knee.”

Swansea Crown Court heard that the witness eventually came forward and told her parents parents after she heard them speaking about Mr Oulton being suspended from his job.

“Did you feel under pressure to say something had happened to you?” asked Mr Clee.

The witness answered “No”

Oulton, of Richmond Crescent, Haverfordwest, previously told the court he had behaved appropriately.

He also believed letters were sent by Pembrokeshire County Council to parents which encouraged “deliberately false evidence” and collusion between pupils.

The trial continues.

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