ENVIRONMENT Agency Wales and its partners have secured £5.2 million to give fishing activities in Wales a massive boost over the next three years.
The Welsh European Funding Office has announced that a total of £2.4 million has been awarded to the key Fishing Wales project from the European Union’s Objective 1 European Rural Development Fund. The remainder of the money is being provided in match funding by partner organisations including the Welsh Assembly Government.
The project will target its efforts on tackling some deep-seated problems which have reduced fish numbers and biodiversity. Such problems include the construction of weirs which impede the migration of fish to their historic spawning areas; erosion of river banks and vegetation loss caused by cattle grazing; and the effects of conifer forests on water and habitat quality.
A key aim is to attract more angling visitors to rural Wales to generate much-needed revenue in local communities.
Apart from Environment Agency Wales, other organisations supporting the project include the Countryside Council for Wales, the Forestry Commission in Wales, the Wales Tourist Board and the National Trust. Various fishing and conservation organisations, such as the wildlife trusts, rivers trusts and associations, together with the angling governing bodies in Wales, have also pledged their support.
Dr Helen Phillips, Director, Environment Agency Wales, said: “The award of this substantial amount of European Union funding to the Fishing Wales project is brilliant news for Wales.
”We now have a great opportunity, working in partnership with others, to really put Wales on the map as a high quality base for fishing in a way that also recognises the importance of the environment and generates much-needed income for the rural economy.”

Key areas of work for the project include:

Habitat Improvements and Fish Passes: Work will be carried out on habitat improvements covering a minimum of 178 km of river, primarily spawning tributaries. A number of major fish passes will be constructed along with other work to enable fish to regain access to about 80 km of suitable habitats.

Fishing Infrastructure: Working with angling clubs and fishery owners, the Fishing Wales. Project will target its efforts at providing high quality information, access and fishing facilities for anglers visiting Wales.

Marketing: The project is seeking to attract an additional 1,000 river game anglers each year to Objective 1 areas in addition to coarse, sea and still-water game anglers. Emphasis will be placed upon drawing to the principality conservation-minded anglers who will practise “catch and release”

For more information about the Fishing Wales project please email: sfp@environment-agency.gov.uk using the word ‘Information’ in the Subject field. Details about the project will be made available on the Environment Agency Wales website www.environment-agency.wales.gov.uk

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