Local Fisheries Advisory Group Conference

BALA

TUESDAY 22nd APRIL 2010

I was pleased to be invited to this all day conference and intended to put a note on this page about it the following day, which was last Wednesday. Why then, you ask, has it taken me so long to put pen to paper? To be honest, I think had I done as planned my comments would have been so euphoric as to have created the impression that the Campaign had been under some sort of undue influence from the Environment Agency Wales, who were the conference organisers and who brought out all their “big guns” in support of the occasion.

The reason for my delight was simple: the change in outlook and attitude the conference reflected on the part of the Agency and the Local Fisheries Advisory Groups.

The Agency had all their fisheries staff present, including Andy Schofield who had travelled up from Cardiff.

The Local Fisheries Advisory Group had given over one of their meeting dates to facilitate the whole event.

Usually conferences on any subject can be a bit of a pain or at best have one or two interminable long and boring sessions when staying awake is a real challenge; Credit where it is due the whole day way a pleasure as well as being enlightening and providing a good opportunity to network. ( I hate that word – sorry). There were displays, stands and demonstrations which were informative as well educational as well as addresses by the Clwyd and Conwy Rivers Trust and The Welsh River Dee Trust, both of which were informative and nicely put together.

The opening address by Andy Schofield Fisheries Strategy and Policy Manager for the Environment Agency Wales gave a very upbeat address, albeit that the message included a warning of; “less funding, less service and potentially more cuts”. I also noted that the number of bailiffs looking after our fisheries in North Wales in now down from eight to six and one of those is on “cockle duties”, so the need for the Campaign is greater than ever.

I am sure the details of the conference will be published elsewhere and if they are I will add them to the site later.

The point of this note is to pass on my delight in what seems to be a major change in attitude on the part of both the Agency and the Local Fisheries advisory Groups. The Agency has, in the past been less than communicative and the LFAG’s have been almost secretive: not intentionally, I’m sure but I never really heard much of or from them and they are after all our representatives. So Conference seems to mark the beginning of a new era in which genuine communications seems to be starting. What we learned from the communication may not all be good news but where it was bad it was presented honestly and openly and that has to be a good thing. I am hopeful that some of us that attended will get together to write with some feedback to suggest some changes that may be made in the future but I have to say, and without reluctance.

Thank you and well done to the Environment Agency Fisheries Staff, who organised the day, and thank you to the LFAG’s for agreeing to let us join you for the day.

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