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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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Covid-19 vaccination venues and timeline announced for everyone locally over 50

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EVERY person in JCVI priority groups 5 to 9 will be offered a COVID-19 vaccination by 18 April, Hywel Dda University Health Board has confirmed.

While the health board’s vaccination programme has the capacity to offer a vaccine to everyone in groups 5 to 9 by the original target date of 4 April, the delivery plan has had to be adjusted based on confirmed vaccine deliveries.

Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, and Pembrokeshire residents in priority groups 5 to 9 can expect to receive their vaccine as follows:

  • Group 5, people aged 65 – 69 years – delivered by GP practices between 15 February and 12 March
  • Group 6, people aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions and unpaid carers – delivered by GP practices between 22 February and 4 April
  • Group 7, people aged 60 – 64 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 8 March
  • Group 8, people aged 55 – 59 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 22 March
  • Group 9, people aged 50 – 54 years – delivered by mass vaccination centres starting 5 April

The health board currently has mass vaccination centres located in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Haverfordwest, Tenby, Carmarthen and Llanelli.

Group 6 is significantly the largest cohort to be vaccinated to date and we understand that many in this group will be anxious to receive a vaccine. Please do not contact your GP or the health board to ask about your appointment, you will be contacted directly when it is your turn and we thank you for your patience.

People in groups 7, 8 and 9 will receive a letter with an appointment date and time. Please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible. The letter will include a phone number to contact the health board should you need to rearrange or cancel your appointment but please make every effort to keep your allocated appointment time.

Steve Moore, Chief Executive of Hywel Dda UHB, said: “While  our programme has had to slow  due to supplies, we want to reassure everyone in groups 5 to 9 that our amazing teams of vaccinators and GP practices have the capability and flexibility to deliver our vaccine supplies as they arrive into the region.

“Vaccine supplies will start to increase again from mid-March, and we are confident that everyone living in our three counties in the top 9 priority groups will be offered a vaccine by mid-April.

“In Hywel Dda we have an older population compared to some other health boards and so over 50% of our adult population will have been offered a vaccine by milestone 2.

“To be able to say that as we approach the anniversary of the first national lockdown is nothing short of extraordinary.

“And again, I must say thank you to everyone living in our three counties who continue to come forward in substantial numbers for the vaccine. Uptake remains remarkably high and we hope to see this continue through groups 5 to 9 and into group 10.”

People are asked, wherever possible, to use their own private transport to attend an appointment. Lifts can be accepted from someone in their household or support bubble, but not from anyone else due to the risk of transmission of the virus.

The health board has put in place transport support for anyone who may have difficulty attending their vaccination appointment. If you have no other means of travel, please contact the health board on 0300 303 8322 and we will be happy to assist.

Everyone in priority groups 1 to 4 should have received an offer of a vaccination. If you have not been contacted, or have changed your mind, please contact your GP at the earliest opportunity. No one will be left behind.

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Nolton Haven: Man hospitalised after getting into difficulties in sea

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A MAN was taken to hospital after getting into difficulties in the sea off Nolton Haven on Friday.

Emergency services were alerted at 2.40pm on February 26 by a 999 call to the control centre.

The Little Haven RNLI lifeboat, Broad Haven Coastguard, an ambulance crew and a Coastguard rescue helicopter assisted police in the operation.

The male casualty was stabilised on the beach and shortly before 4.30pm, was then transported to Withybush Hospital.

A police spokesman told The Herald: “We were called to a male who had got into difficulties in the water at Nolton Haven shortly before 3pm.

“He was taken to hospital by ambulance.”

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Cyclist killed on A40 was serving police officer, force confirms

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A CYCLIST who died after a crash with a van on the A40 in Carmarthenshire was a serving police officer with Dyfed-Powys Police, the force has confirmed in a statement to Herald.Wales.

The driver of the van involved in the crash, which happened on Thursday (Feb 25) has been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving, it was confirmed on Friday (Feb 26).

Police are investigating the fatal collision, which caused the road to be closed for 12 hours, and are asking for any witnesses to come forward by calling 101.

37-year-old Lynwen Thomas, who is a former student at Ysgol Bro Myrddin, Croes-y-Ceiliog, Carmarthen, was a sergeant and a very well-respected member of Dyfed-Powys Police.

A spokesperson for the police said in a statement: “Our thoughts are with her family, friends and colleagues, who have all been offered specialist support. We ask that family members are given the privacy they need at this difficult time.”

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