THE Welsh Assembly Government has announced a further £2.4 million funding for the Sustainable Fisheries Programme led by Environment Agency Wales.

Dr Helen Phillips, Director, Environment Agency Wales, welcoming the announcement by Carwyn Jones said: “We have made huge improvements to the coarse and game fisheries of Wales in the past three years thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and our other partners. This latest announcement means that we can build on our earlier work making Wales a top class destination for fishing holidays and the economic benefits this brings to rural areas in particular. In partnership we can continue to deliver environmental benefits and, through the provision of new fishing facilities and opportunities for the people of Wales, contribute to the improvement in the quality of life in Wales.”

The additional funding will be used by Environment Agency Wales to support a wide range of fishery improvement schemes assisting local clubs and fishery owners to develop their own projects.

Work will continue with the construction of fish passes, restoring access for fish migrating up our rivers. There are now more rivers accessible to salmon and sea trout than for over 100 years thanks to fish passes such as those at Treforest on the River Taff and Bontuchel on the River Clwyd. However, many areas of river, particularly in south east Wales, remain impassable to fish due to previous industrial activity which has left a legacy of obstructions, such as weirs, across rivers.

The Fishing Wales marketing campaign has been a huge success with record numbers of enquiries requesting information and the new promotional brochures and visiting the Fishing Wales website (www.fishing.visitwales.com). Since the launch in the spring there have been over 15,000 requests received for the new brochures and the website has received an average of 1,000 new users every month.

Donald Patterson, Chairman of Tregaron Angling Association commented: “I have been involved in tourism development generally for some 15 years and I cannot recall any marketing campaign that has had such a magnificent, consistent and powerful image as that which is now attached to angling. Those of us involved in fisheries welcome the Ministers announcement and are grateful for his commitment to Welsh fisheries.”

Introducing people to angling will continue to form an important part of the work. In the past two years over 6,000 introductions have been made giving youngsters, in particular the opportunity to try fishing and to learn about caring for their local environment. We will work closely with the angling organisations in Wales and the Welsh Angling Coaching Foundation to ensure that the angling coaching structures are in place to ensure that help is available to both new starters and also existing anglers.

Sustainable Fisheries Programme Manager, Andy Schofield said: “The Ministers announcement provides all those fortunate enough to be involved in the delivery the fisheries programme with a tremendous boost. Hundreds of volunteers throughout Wales have invested their time and effort in helping to deliver angling improvements, better river habitats for fish, marketing Wales and welcoming visitors. Their efforts are now being rewarded with a further injection of funding by the Assembly Government. We will use this money wisely, attracting further investment from other partners including the European Union who have already played a key role in our current success.”

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