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Portuguese Blenny snapped in Welsh waters



Portuguese Blenny: Similar to its cousin, the Tompot Blenny

Portuguese Blenny: Similar to its cousin, the Tompot Blenny

THE MARINE Conservation Society (MCS) says a Portuguese Blenny (Parablennius ruber) has been photographed in Welsh waters for the first time. 

It was spotted in The Smalls, a popular diving area 18 miles off the Pembrokeshire coast, west of St Brides Bay, by Seasearch diver Kerry Lewis, from Aberystwyth, in late July.

Seasearch is the MCS volunteer dive programme, where divers survey underwater areas around the UK.

MCS Wales Conservation Engagement Officer, Paul Kay, said he was able to identify the photograph taken by Kerry, because he had snapped a Portuguese Blenny off the Aran Island in Galway Bay many years ago and had to have the fish’s identity confirmed by an expert from Madeira.

The Portuguese Blenny is quite small, only growing up to about 14cm long. It has two quite characteristic head appendages, so it’s similar to its cousin, the Tompot Blenny.

However, it differs in colouration as it is mottled with red rather than brown stripes, and sometimes can be almost entirely bright red. Males have a blue spot on the front of their dorsal fin when ready to breed.

“This Portuguese Blenny was well known from far further south. But since my first sighting in some years ago, they’ve been found along the west coasts of both Ireland and Scotland and I’ve even photographed one as far north as St Kilda.

“It’s also been recorded in the Scillies and the south coast too, but never in Wales. I think this is partly because this little fish actually appears to like very rough, exposed spots and seems to thrive most in what we might think of as areas very difficult to survive in – which of course aren’t easy to dive in either,” says Paul.

Kerry Lewis says the sea conditions when she spotted the little Blenny were unusually calm, which is why the South and West Wales Seasearch team, organised by local co-ordinator Kate Lock, were able to get out to The Smalls, an area Kerry says she had wanted to dive in for over a decade.

“I was thrilled to have taken the first photo of this fish in Wales. When I saw it hopping about amongst the rocks, I assumed it was a juvenile Tompot Blenny, one of the best known fishes from around the UK.

“They share a striking resemblance, but its coloration and marginal differences in shape differentiate it. Fortunately, it stayed still long enough for me to get the picture and when I posted it in the online Seasearch forum, it all got quite exciting.”

Confirmation was also obtained from Dr Lin Baldock, Dorset Seasearch Co-ordinator and a small fish expert.

Paul Kay says that despite its name, it’s thought that the Portuguese Blenny is actually a resident of British and Irish waters: “It’s not a recent immigrant from further south, so its presence doesn’t suggest global warming, but actually illustrates just how biodiverse our own seas are and how we are still able to discover new things about them all the time, and why they need protecting and looking after.”

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Pembrokeshire residents can quickly check symptoms for variety of conditions on NHS 111 Wales online



NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker can save Pembrokeshire patients time by helping them find the right NHS service for treatment. Symptoms can be quickly checked for a variety of conditions and advice given on the best way to treat them by visiting which is hosted by the Welsh Ambulance Service.

The way we access NHS services has changed as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with more options now becoming increasingly utilised, including the NHS 111 Wales online service which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can be used for both health information and advice and to access urgent primary care in Welsh and English.

In a recent YouGov survey, a third of Pembrokeshire residents had not even heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker and only 19% had used it during the past 12 months.

Andrew Carruthers, Director of Operations at Hywel Dda University Health Board, said: “We are asking everyone to help us by reconsidering the way you access NHS services. The methods available have changed but we are still here for you. It is worth getting to know the different ways you can access the NHS so you can be seen and treated quicker with your first port of call being NHS 111 Wales.”

According to the YouGov survey, carried out for the Welsh Government’s Keep Wales Safe campaign, only 67% of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales online symptom checker. However, 86% said they felt it was important to have access to the service.   

NHS 111 Wales online can help if you have an urgent medical problem and you’re not sure what to do. The way it works is: You answer questions about your symptoms on the website and depending on the situation you will:

  •           Get self-care advice
  •           Be told how to get any medicine you need
  •           Find out what local service can help you
  •           Be connected to a nurse, emergency dentist, pharmacist or GP
  •           Get a face-to-face appointment if you need one
  •           Be given an arrival time if you need to go to A&E – this might mean you spend less time in A&E

For those who don’t have confidence going online to seek advice, there is the NHS 111 Wales phone service. This is also a free service where patients can contact the NHS by dialling 111 to receive advice on the best way to manage their issue or gain further assistance if needed. The bilingual telephone service is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Eighty-four percent of Pembrokeshire residents had heard of the NHS 111 Wales phone service when asked for the recent YouGov survey but only 20% had used the telephone service during the last 12 months.


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Trial date for son accused of killing mum



THE SON of Judith Rhead, 68, who was found dead in her home in Market Street, Pembroke Dock on Feb 20 will now appear in Crown Court again in October.

Dale Morgan, 43, said to be a scout master, appeared in court only to confirm his name, date of birth and address – which was listed as Honeyborough Green, Neyland.

A plea and trial preparation hearing date was set for March 26 with a provisional trial date set for October 4.

He was remanded in custody.

In court papers it stated that the alleged murder took place between December 10, 2020 and February 21, 2021.

The paperwork demonstrates that the police are unsure of the exact date that Ms Rhead died. The large date range, two months, points to the likelihood that this will be a challenging case for all those involved.

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Launch of Haverfordwest Castle Conservation Management Plan



MEMBERS of the public are being asked to help shape the future of Haverfordwest Castle as a draft Conservation Management Plan (CMP) is launched.

One of Pembrokeshire’s most important historical assets, the Castle is owned by Pembrokeshire County Council, which has produced the CMP.

The plan:

▪ sets out the significance of the castle and describes how the building will be protected with any new use, alteration, repair or management; 

▪ will help with the planning of maintenance, conservation and repair work and adaptation of the site to meet new or changing uses; 

▪ will help promote understanding of the site and look at improving public access and activities for local people and visitors; 

▪ will support proposals to conserve the castle and adaptations of the site in response to climate change; 

▪ and underpin funding applications to support improvements

An engagement exercise has been launched alongside the Plan, giving members of the public with an interest in the historic and/or environmental significance of the castle an opportunity to comment on the document and share their views.

To take part in the engagement exercise, please click on the following link:

The deadline for responses is Sunday, March 28, 2021.


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