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  1. Ian Lang

Fishermen say EU plans will put them out of business

Fishermen in North Wales are launching a national campaign against a proposed EU ban on the use of drift nets which they say will put them out of business.

The European Commission wants to impose the blanket ban from January next year saying large scale drift nets can be a threat to species like tuna and dolphin.

But fishermen here say they should not be punished for problems elsewhere.

North Wales fishermen launch campaign against proposed drift net ban

The EEC says large scale drift netting is a threat to some species Credit: PA

Fishermen in North Wales are launching a national campaign against a proposed EU wide ban on the use of drift nets, which they say will put them out of business.

The European Commission wants to impose the blanket ban from January next year saying large scale drift netting, particularly in the Mediterranean, is a threat to species like dolphins and sea turtles which get caught up in the nets.

But fishermen here say that it if the proposals go through many small scale fishermen would be facing the dole.

They say 20 boats on the Welsh Dee alone would be hit.

Dee fisherman Dave Hutton said, "Fishermen have drift netted for plaice and flounders for centuries. This proposal is absolutely crazy and we would be paying a heavy price for the sins of others outside the UK."

The fishermen say they're particularly angry that they weren't consulted about the proposed ban, and are writing to the Welsh Government and MPs asking for support.

They are also launching an e-petition in the hope that the proposals can be blocked or modified.

There is already a ban on the use of fishing with fixed nets.

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Crackdown continues on illegal fishing and poaching

Valuable salmon and sea trout are often targeted by illegal anglers Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

Almost 140 people have been prosecuted in the last 12 months in an ongoing battle against illegal fishing and poaching.

The anglers were caught committing a range of offences, from not having a rod licence to illegal netting and cruel 'foul hooking', which involves dragging hooks through the water at high speed in an attempt to impale fish on the hooks.

All but three of the 139 cases resulted in successful prosecutions and combined fines of £18,468, as well as the confiscation of equipment.

Natural Resources Wales warns illegal fishing is damaging to the angling industry, which is worth more than £150 million to the Welsh economy.

A spokesperson said: "Angling helps protect the environment, is a big draw for tourism and plays a major role in the local economy.

"It's important that we continue to crack down on illegal fishing activity so that it remains sustainable for licensed fisherman."

Rare shark hooked by actor off west Wales coast

A Mako shark which was landed off Milford Haven. Credit: Wales News Service

The world's fastest shark has been caught off the Welsh coast - the first in British waters in 42 years.The 6ft-long Mako shark - a cousin of the man-eating Great White - was landed by Welsh actor on holiday in Pembrokeshire.

Anglesey-born Julian Lewis Jones was fishing with pals 30 miles off Milford Haven when he landed the fish - officially described as the fastest species of shark in the ocean.

Juliian said, "We saw this flash that whizzed passed the boat - it was a big white belly and it went so, so fast. Next thing this shark leapt 15ft in the air off the back of the stern of the boat. We all looked at each other and said: 'That's a mako' and we knew the importance of it."

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20ft dive to rescue a pair of glasses from Swansea Marina

Special mission to recover glasses from bottom of the sea. Credit: Wales News Service

A fisherman who dropped his glasses into the sea couldn't believe his eyes as his

optician offered to dive in to find them. Keen angler Mike Richardson, 69, was fishing on a friend's boat when his glasses slipped off and disappeared into the water.

Mike's friend rang his optician Nick King, luckily a qualified deep sea diver, to order an emergency pair of the £250 glasses, but nick's response was to find them himself, 20ft down on the seabed. Owner and glasses were successfully reunited after only 5 minutes of searching Swansea Marina.

Mike said: "We were all amazed when Nick came up from the freezing water with my glasses. We thought he’d never find them because it’s very murky water down there and the frames are dark so they’d have been extremely hard to see"

Nick said: "Glasses retrieval isn’t normally part of the Specsavers service. But in this case I’m happy to have obliged and taken customer service to new depths, quite literally"