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Call to release fish caught in the Western Cleddau

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salmonANGLERS are being asked to help conserve fish stocks by agreeing to release more of the salmon and sea trout they catch. 

The request follows reports that the salmon and sea trout numbers in Welsh rivers declined last year. As part of efforts to address this, Natural Resources Wales would like to see anglers release at least 90% of their catch on ‘at risk’ salmon rivers. Releasing more of the salmon and sea trout they catch will enable more fish to migrate upstream to spawn and produce more juvenile fish to boost the population. At present an average of 72% of salmon and 76% of sea trout are released after being caught. Figures from the Wye and Taff, where mandatory 100% catch and release byelaws are in place, suggest that catch and release can have a positive effect on fish stocks. Both the Wye and Taff have shown an improvement in salmon numbers in 2013 and are now predicted to move out of the ‘at risk’ category by 2018. This is more than likely due to a combination of catch and release and improvements in habitat and water quality. Fish stocks in a total of 23 salmon and 27 sea trout rivers are assessed annually in Wales and placed in risk categories. The assessments based on 2013 figures show 20 salmon rivers either ‘at risk’ or ‘probably at risk’. Natural Resources Wales particularly wants to see more salmon released on the rivers including the Western Cleddau. The catch and release rate on the River Dee was already at an encouraging 81% last year but it is recommended that this should reach at least 90% this year. There is also cause for concern over sea trout stocks especially on the ‘at risk’ rivers Loughor, Tywi, Taf and Eastern and Western Cleddau, as well as the ‘probably at risk’ Tawe, Nevern, Rheidol, Ystwyth, Dwyryd, Seiont and Conwy. Rob Evans, fisheries advisor, Natural Resources Wales, said: “The number of fish migrating into many Welsh rivers was worryingly low last year so we are asking all anglers to help by releasing more of the fish they catch to boost the next generation. “Most anglers are already voluntarily practising catch and release and have been doing so for many years. Achieving 90% catch and release rates on the ‘at risk’ salmon rivers and further increasing the number of sea trout released, particularly the larger fish, may help to avoid the need for more mandatory byelaws. “There are many pressures on salmon and sea trout these days including loss of habitat, low marine survival and a changing climate but studies have shown the vast majority of released fish, if handled carefully, survive to spawn successfully.” Catch and release is one of several initiatives to improve Welsh fish stocks. Over the last 10 years Natural Resources Wales, Welsh Government and EU funded Sustainable Fisheries Programme has, in partnership with Rivers Trusts and others, invested millions of pounds to improve stocks. This included opening up over 1,500km of access to spawning grounds by building fish passes and improving over 500km of habitat by, for example, fencing to exclude sheep and cattle from river banks. Netsmen have also seen their catch restricted in recent years but there may be a need to impose further restrictions. This will be assessed later this year as part of the process of reviewing our Net Limitation Orders. To give fish the best chance of survival anglers should use barbless single hooks, play the fish quickly, keep it in the water at all times and support the fish facing into the current until it is strong enough to swim away.

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Pembrokeshire cottage letting agency offers free holidays to NHS heroes

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PEMBROKESHIRE-BASED holiday letting agency St Brides Bay Cottages has teamed up with its property owners and Operation Recuperation to offer free holidays to frontline healthcare workers. The family-run firm has announced the scheme to say thank you to the healthcare heroes who are risking their lives to keep the UK safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

The generous initiative will see healthcare professionals enjoy a well-deserved break in picturesque St Davids, Solva, Newgale or Porthgain, after the crisis is over. The scheme is part of Operation Recuperation, a UK-wide campaign launched to gift future stays in beautiful places to frontline healthcare providers.

Sam Sibbald, manager of St Brides Bay Cottages, based in Solva, said: “This is our way of showing our dedicated healthcare workers that we appreciate everything they’re doing in such difficult circumstances.

“I saw first-hand the pressure the NHS is under, when my dad had a stay in hospital last year. I could tell how pushed they were on a normal day-to-day basis, let alone with having COVID-19 to deal with. Now my dad is at home, needing carers every day, and I can see, more than ever, how much we rely on the people who look after us.

“We’re taking part in Operation Recuperation thanks to the generosity of our cottage owners. By gifting stays to these dedicated workers, we’ll be helping them to recover from the fight against coronavirus.”

Several cottage owners, whose properties are let by St Brides Bay Cottages, have come forward to donate stays in their holiday homes.

Among them is Sheila Morgan, who together with her husband Chris, owns The Anchorage, a two-bedroom apartment in Solva. She said: “As a retired nurse with medical staff in the family, I can fully appreciate the strains and stresses all NHS staff are going through at present. Thank you all for your sterling work. Hopefully the peace, quiet and Pembrokeshire air will aid recuperation.”

Debbie and Patrick Bowie-Moore, the owners of five-bedroom holiday home Mount Pleasant, in Solva, said: “The healthcare workers have offered their all, and it’s our privilege to give a family – who may have been kept apart – the opportunity to stay in Mount Pleasant as a massive thank you.”

Simon Baker, who owns Cefn y Mor, a four-bedroom property in Solva, said: “We are backing the Operation Recuperation project because we have family members on the frontline of the NHS, and know what risks they are taking, and what effort they are putting into saving lives. Our only effort is to stay at home and avoid infection. A small price to pay.”

Jim and Maureen Dale, whose three-bedroom holiday home, May Cottage, is situated on a grade II-listed farm, near St Davids, said: “Rarely do we get an opportunity to say thank you to the staff at the NHS – we tend to take the service so much for granted. Now the chips are down and there they all are, on the frontline looking after us all. Thank you all at the NHS.”

David and Judith James, who are offering a free stay at their converted watermill, Melin Llanrhian, near Porthgain, said: “We’re delighted to be able to support Operation Recuperation as a very small thank you to everyone in the NHS who has worked so hard in such challenging circumstances.”

Operation Recuperation is collecting donations – in room nights and cash – to give free stays to frontline healthcare staff, once the virus restrictions have been lifted.

Rachel Sherwood, who launched Operation Recuperation, said: “A huge thank you to St Brides Bay Cottages for proudly supporting Operation Recuperation and to the cottage owners who have donated stays in this stunning part of Wales, despite very challenging times.

“Sometime in the not-too-distant future, a number of our frontline healthcare staff will be enjoying long clifftop walks, fresh seafood, lazy days on the beach and cosy evenings in sea-view cottages.”

To find out more about St Brides Bay Cottages and Operation Recuperation, visit: https://www.stbridesbaycottages.com/, email enquiries@stbridesbaycottages.com or call 01437 720027.

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Council pays out £2.5m in business grants to date

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PEMBROKESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL has revealed that since Wednesday, 1st April, it has already paid out £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

The Authority’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Paul Miller, said Council staff had been working hard to make the Covid-19 business grants payable as soon as possible

Explained Councillor Miller: “Payments started on Wednesday this week for those who qualify for grants linked to the National Non-Domestic Ratings (NNDR) system. We have already paid out around £2.5 million in grants to local businesses.

“Daily payment runs are being made in order that these can get into business bank accounts as soon as possible.

“We cannot unfortunately acknowledge receipt of applications but, once authorised, businesses will be emailed and the grant will be paid within two to three working days.”

Councillor Miller added: “If there are any issues with a grant application, or information is missing, a Council officer will be in touch to discuss the matter. A dedicated team has been set up to do this.”

For further business advice refer to the Council’s Business pages which can be accessed via the following link: https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/business-advice-and-support

This will enable access to the application form for the above grants, provide answers to frequently asked questions and links to further sources of advice through HMRC, Welsh Government, Department of Work and Pensions, Public Health Wales and other organisations.

For further enquiries not answered through the business pages, email: covid19@pembrokeshire.gov.uk and an officer will respond. Please view the business pages first.

For those who don’t qualify for the grants, Welsh Government will soon be making details available of how business can access other funding through an Economic Resilience Fund.

Details will be available on the Council’s business pages as soon as they are released by Welsh Government.

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Man issued with two COVID-19 fines in 24 hours as police thank those following new legislation

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A man has been issued with two fines in 24 hours for flouting Coronavirus legislation, as police thank those who are following the new rules.

Dyfed-Powys Police officers in Carmarthenshire stopped the 22-year-old from Llanelli twice for being out of the house without a reasonable excuse.

A report was made on April 1 that three men were breaching the COVID-19 legislation by gathering in Llanstephan. A woman who had attempted to film the men reported that they had stolen her phone and driven away.

Officers quickly linked the car to a suspect and traced it driving towards Carmarthen and then Llanelli, and a roads policing unit was directed to the area.

The car was stopped, and the two occupants – a 22-year-old from Llanelli, and a 18-year-old from Carmarthen – were arrested on suspicion of theft. They were also both issued with tickets for COVID-19 offences.

T/Chief Inspector Tom Sharville said: “We are taking the new legislation seriously, and would like to thank the majority of people who are staying home to keep others safe.

“The measures are difficult to adapt to, but it is important that we stay at home to save lives.

“However, there is a minority out there who are under the impression the legislation does not apply to them, and are flouting the law.

“This was the second fine one of these men was issued with in 24 hours, after he showed a clear disregard for all guidelines.”

The men were arrested on suspicion of theft of a mobile phone, and were released under investigation pending further enquiries.

For information about the COVID-19 legislation, and answers to many frequently asked questions, visit https://bit.ly/DPPCovid19

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