WORK has started to build a new fish pass in Pembrokeshire at Haverfordwest town weir on the Work Work has started to build a new fish pass in Pembrokeshire at Haverfordwest town weir on the Western Cleddau costing nearly a quarter of a million pounds.

Currently salmon and sea trout are unable to negotiate the weir effectively having to wait until high tide nearly overtops the structure allowing them to continue upstream. As a result accumulations of fish downstream have attracted predators, including seals, which have been regularly recorded taking salmon from below the weir as they waited to ascend the river.

The new pass incorporates the most modern technology on fish passage. No longer will the fish have to jump from pool to pool but will be able to ascend easily simply swimming through the pass unimpeded.

The pass design is known as a “super active bottom baffle” and will allow fish to ascend easily over a wide range of river flows. The specially designed baffles effectively reduce the water velocity within the pass so that fish can ascend without the need to jump.

Ben Wilson, Sustainable Fisheries Programme Manager for the Agency in South West Wales, said: “This is part of a major investment in the sustainable development of fisheries in Wales. It will not only benefit anglers, but will provide a massive boost to the local economy by attracting more visiting anglers. In addition to benefiting the fishery the new fish pass represents a significant improvement for local biodiversity. The Western Cleddau is a SSSI and Special Area of Conservation, designated for, among other species, the migratory River Lamprey, which will benefit directly form this new pass.”

Mark White, Chairman of Pembrokeshire Anglers Association, said: “I am delighted that work has finally begun on the fish pass. As an Association, the improvement of the existing ineffective pass has been our main priority for a number of years and I strongly believe that improved ease of access will give an immediate and substantial boost to migratory fish stocks in the Western Cleddau

The Haverfordwest town weir project is just one of a number of major fish passes Environment Agency Wales is building under the three year Fishing Wales project. Fishing Wales is a collaborative project funded by European Objective One and supported by the Welsh Assembly Government and other key partners with the primary objective of promoting and sustainably developing fishing in Wales. This includes:

* marketing Wales as a destination for visiting anglers:

* increasing angling participation:

* improving angling infrastructure :

* restoring degraded fish habitat and fish pass construction