News

Storm strandings

The storms of January and February have killed  many seabirds and washed many marine animals out of the sandy habitats where they live and onto beaches all around SW Britain.  Already there are records of spiny cockles, razor clams, otter shells, ocean quahogs and sea cucumbers having been deposited on beaches as well as razorbills, guillemots and puffins.  If you have seen any mass stranded marine wildlife on the beaches of Carmarthen Bay and its estuaries during and since the storms, please do let us know through the contacts page.  Also let us know if you have photographs of the strandings you would like to share.

Many thanks.

Welsh Government further review of the exceptions to regulations regarding the maximum length of fishing boats in the 0-6 nautical mile zone

There are regulations prohibiting boats over a certain size or capacity from fishing in the 0-6 nautical mile zone around Wales.  At present, there are exceptions to those provisions which allow vessels over the specified size or capacity limits to continue to fish in those areas.

A consultation was undertaken in 2011/12 regarding proposals to remove historic access rights. A number of complex issues arose as a result of the responses received, and subsequent analysis of the same.  The Minister for Natural Resources and Food has decided that a further period of consultation is needed to ensure that the Welsh Government has the fullest possible understanding of the current situation and the possible effects of the proposed removal of these historic access rights.

More information and the consultation document are available here.

Problems of Small Estuaries Symposium

A scientific Symposium on the Problems of Small Estuaries was held at Swansea University in April 2013.  It followed on from earlier symposia at the University ‘Problems of a Small Estuary‘ in 1976 which looked as issues affecting small estuaries, in particular the Burry Inlet, and the ‘Burry Inlet and Loughor Estuary Symposium’ in 1996.

A presentation on the EMS set the scene for many of the other contributions.  All the presentations, including the EMS presentation, are available as PDFs here.

Countryside Council for Wales and Environment Agency Wales dissolved and work taken over by new body, Natural Resources Wales

Natural Resources Wales, the new body that will manage, maintain, and enhance Wales’ natural environment officially replaced the Countryside Council for Wales, Environment Agency Wales and Forestry Commission for Wales and took on full responsibility for managing Wales’ natural resources on 1 April 2013.  See here and here.

Welsh government green paper Sustaining a Living Wales

Wales’ nature, land, water and air are our ultimate resource – the basis on which everything else is possible. If we are to realise our aspirations for better quality of life and future prospects, we need to ensure that that resource is put to best and most sustainable use.

The Welsh Government’s Green Paper on a new approach to natural resource management in Wales is open to consultation until 31 May 2012.

NATUR, the Welsh Institute of Countryside and Conservation Management, has been welcomed by the Natural Environment Framework team as a ‘critical friend’.  Watch NATUR’s website for constructive criticism of the Green Paper.

Management Scheme consultation open

The draft Carmarthen Bay & Estuaries EMS Management Scheme is open to comment until 31 October 2011.  Responses from the public, stakeholders, local communities and regulatory and management authorities are invited and welcomed.

The Scheme document and supporting technical annexes can be downloaded here.

Three Rivers Cockle Fishery Closure

Stocks have fallen to a level which do not currently allow for a Fishery. Consequently, the Welsh Government has issued a Public Notice which maintains the fishery closure until 5 September 2011. Welsh Government Fisheries Science staff will continue to monitor the cockle population.  They will monitor with a view to considering if cockle growth might allow a fishery to take place later in 2011.

More here

Management Scheme consultation coming soon

The draft Carmarthen Bay & Estuaries EMS Management Scheme will be published at the beginning of September and will remain open for comment until 31 October 2011.

Responses from the public, stakeholders, local communities and regulatory and management authorities will be invited and welcomed.

Please subscribe to the newsletter to ensure you are notified when the consultation draft is published.

New report on Special Areas of Conservation in Wales

CCW have published a new report on the current state of knowledge of SACs in Wales as at September 2010 available here.

Overall, on land and in the seas 27% of designated habitats and species within SAC are considered to be in favourable condition, with 11% in a process of recovery.  But that leaves almost two thirds not doing well.   Within marine SACs, 80% of saltmarshes, 60% of intertidal sand and muflats and half of estuary and bays features are not in favourable condition or recovering towards it.  Much more work is clearly needed to improve on this situation.

Hidden value of nature revealed

The natural environment is worth billions of pounds to the UK economy and must be better protected, according to the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (UK NEA).  The report strengthens the arguments for protecting and enhancing the environment and will be used by the government to direct policy in future.

Many people may believe that caring for the environment means extra financial burdens, but the UK NEA shows that there are real economic reasons for looking after nature.  It also shows that the benefits we get to our health, well being and from the enjoyment of nature have not always been fully appreciated or valued.

The assessment provides economic values for a range of services that the ecosystem gives us for free to help us fully understand the value of the natural environment and how the benefits to individuals and society as a whole can be better protected and preserved for future generations.

The UK NEA shows that the tendency to focus only on the market value of resources we can use and sell, such as timber, crops and fisheries, has led to the decline of some ecosystems and habitats through pollution, over-exploitation, and land conversion.

See the Defra press release here and the NEA report here.

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