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Global hackers to solve fishy issue



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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Natural Resources Wales approves Ireland-UK interconnector licence



GREENLINK INTERCONNECTOR LIMITED says it welcomes the decision by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to approve its application for a Marine Licence for the Greenlink electricity interconnector project, which will link the power markets of Great Britain and Ireland.

An important project for Pembrokeshire, and the UK as a whole, NRW’s go-ahead is one of several consents required for the construction of the project and covers installation of the marine cable in UK waters.

The approval is a major milestone for Greenlink and joins the onshore planning consents granted unanimously in July last year by Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.

Greenlink’s proposed 190km subsea and underground electricity cable will run beneath the Irish Sea to connect National Grid’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales and EirGrid’s Great Island substation in County Wexford, Ireland. It will have a nominal capacity of 500 MW.

The Wales-Ireland link is just one of four interconnectors being installed

Nigel Beresford, CEO for Greenlink Interconnector Limited, said: “We are delighted by Natural Resources Wales’s decision to grant this licence. This marks a significant milestone for Greenlink and another important step towards project construction, which we expect to commence later this year.

“The Greenlink team has worked constructively with Natural Resources Wales and Welsh marine stakeholders to find workable solutions to the many technical and environmental challenges facing a large infrastructure project like this, and this has been reflected in the quality of the final proposal.

“The thorough environmental and technical assessments we have undertaken, supported by the practical and value-adding feedback we have received from key marine stakeholders, have ensured that we move forward confident that we are delivering a well-designed project with the interests of the Welsh marine habitat at its core.”

The subsea section of the cable will be approximately 160km in length and uses high voltage direct current (HVDC) technology. The preferred route and installation methods were chosen following the conclusion of subsea surveys and consultation with key stakeholders.

In Ireland, a Foreshore Licence application was submitted to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (Foreshore Unit) in 2019 and the onshore planning application was submitted to An Bord Pleanála in December 2020.

Greenlink is one of Europe’s most important energy infrastructure projects and brings benefits on both sides of the Irish Sea for energy security, regional investment, jobs and the cost-effective integration of low carbon energy. The project will offer important local supply chain opportunities and plans are being drawn up for ‘meet-the-buyer’ events in the local area prior to construction.

Once fully consented, Greenlink is expected to have a three-year construction programme, with commissioning planned by the end of 2023.

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Appeal from Fire and Rescue Service to install working smoke alarms



AT 01:17am this morning, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, crews from Milford Haven were called to a property fire in the Hakin area of Milford Haven.

The fire was confined to a pan on a stove in the kitchen area and extinguished by firefighters using two breathing apparatus, a hose reel jet and a thermal imaging camera.

Crews also ventilated the property and fitted smoke alarms within the property.

The Fire Service left the incident at 02:00am.

Watch Manager Alun Griffiths, Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service, said “This fire was the result of cooking left unattended. It is so important to remove all pots and pans from a heat source when you are called away from the cooker.

“Thankfully, the occupiers of the property managed to exit the property before our firefighters arrived, but it could have ended very differently as there were no smoke alarms fitted in the property.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of installing working smoke alarms in your homes and testing them regularly. In the dreadful event of a fire, they can alert you to the danger sooner and could mean the difference between life and death.

“As a Fire and Rescue Service, we provide Home Fire Safety advice which is free of charge. We also offer Safe and Well Visits which you can arrange by phoning us on 0800 169 1234 or by visiting the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website.”

For further Home Fire Safety advice or to talk about the possibility of a Safe and Well Visit by Fire and Rescue Service personnel, please phone us on 0800 169 1234.​​​ Alternatively please complete an online Request a Safe and Well Visit​ form on the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service website:

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Milford Haven: Apocalyptic scenes as work truck catches fire in Meyler Crescent



A MILFORD HAVEN businessman says that he is “absolutely gutted”, after he lost his tipper truck in a dramatic fire overnight.

Callum Hicks, of Meyler Crescent, was woken just after 1am on Monday morning (Mar 1) to see his vehicle in flames, with fuel running down the street on fire.

The apocalyptic scenes brought neighbours out of their homes and the fire brigade was quickly called and put out the blaze.

At this time the police and fire brigade are not suspecting foul play, but in a telephone call to a Herald reporter Callum Hicks said that he thought it was impossible that the vehicle would just spontaneously combust.

Work van: Callum Hicks with his truck, which he says was his “pride and joy”

Explaining that he thought his truck had been set on fire deliberately, he said: “There was CCTV of the fire, but its a football pitch length away, with a white van parked blocking the view of the camera. There was not a clear uninterrupted view.”

“I parked the truck at 2pm on Sunday afternoon so it was 11 hours before the fire started. The vehicle was therefore cold, and locked up.”

Firefighters at the scene

The Herald has asked two mechanics, one of whom has worked on Transit vans for decades. The first said: “It is very unlikely that a vehicle like this would catch fire on it’s own – its impossible – I am 99.9% sure that this was arson.”

The second, a specialist in vehicle electronics said: “There are so many fuses and fail safes its highly unlikely for diesel vans to burst into flames like this without some kind of catalyst.”

Burned out shell: The vehicle after the fire

“There have been issues regarding Transits in the past, even a product recall involving a fire risk from a towing module. But, the chances are a million to one of it catching fire after being parked up for almost twelve hours. It just doesn’t happen.”

The Herald asked Callum Hicks if he could think of anyone who may want to torch his truck. He said that he could not think of anyone who would do such a thing.

Commenting on the police handling of the matter, he said: “They told my missus, Rhianna Pearce, that they were not taking matters further because it was just an accident – its not!”

“I have been in trouble with the police before, and they know I am a bit of a boy, but I think this is the reason that the police are not looking into this properly.

“At the end of the day this was a large fire in a residential area, lives could have been in danger. I have lost thousands because I was insured third-party only and I do not have cover for fire.

Dyfed-Powys Police and Mid & West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have been asked for a comment.

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