Parthau Cadwraeth Morol Taro Naw


Parthau Cadwraeth Morol

Lladd cymunedau er mwyn achub bywyd gwyllt? Destroying communities to save wildlife?


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The Welsh coastline.

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Depths teeming with wonders.

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But there's more to nature than a feast for the eyes.

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In many parts of the world...

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..there's real concern about the effect of over-fishing...

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..on the ocean environment.

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If the seabed is destroyed...

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..it can take a very long time for something similar to return.

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But controversial plans to introduce more conservation...

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..and close parts of the Welsh coastline have caused anger.

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If this error-strewn scheme comes into existence...

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..this is the biggest threat to our community in Lleyn...

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..in living memory.

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These are my wages.

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There wouldn't be any work.

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Tonight, Taro Naw is visiting the first place in Britain...

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..to establish a Marine Conservation Zone...

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..to ask whether a similar scheme in Wales...

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..could undermine communities...

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..while attempting to protect wildlife.

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Subtitles

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Subtitles

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The tip of Lleyn...

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..and a fisherman from the area preparing for a big day.

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He'll be battling politicians in Cardiff Bay and opposing plans...

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..which he feels could change his life forever.

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We're losing a traditional way of living...

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..which has been in my family for six generations.

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I feel I have a duty to protect that way of life...

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..to the end.

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This is the bay where he works every day.

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Colin Evans fishes the sea around Bardsey Island...

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..by using the same methods as his ancestors.

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With static pots.

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This one is perfectly healthy.

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It can go back in and hopefully it'll come back in a year or two.

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It's a male.

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Conservation is our daily life.

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If we over-fish an area or disrespect it in an way...

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..it's not there for us tomorrow or for future generations.

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But that continuity is under threat...

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..if the Welsh Government's consultation on banning...

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..fishing around the island is approved.

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And this is the reason - the rich wildlife.

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It's home to many species and, as a result, there are plans...

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..to create a nature reserve...

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..or Marine Conservation Zone near Bardsey.

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For Colin Evans, who uses the profits from fishing...

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..to subsidise his boat business, which carries goods and visitors...

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..back and forth to the island, it would be a major blow.

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Commercial fishing for crabs and lobsters has existed here...

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..since the mid-18th century, if not earlier.

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The island has relied upon it and still relies upon it today.

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My concern, other than my own livelihood...

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..is that the island will die and we'll lose the community.

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But others are more concerned about the implications...

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..of losing more sea life.

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Across the world, there's concern about environmental damage...

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..climate change and the effects of over-fishing.

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The European parliament wants to introduce more conservation...

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..and strengthen regions which have some regulation, like Cardigan Bay.

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After research carried out by the Countryside Council for Wales...

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..these are the 10 areas under consideration...

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..as Marine Conservation Zones.

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The objective is to agree on three or four possible areas.

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The regulations could be strict.

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No fishing or activities which could damage wildlife.

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The Welsh habitat needs protecting because...

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..even within the protected zones we have...

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..over 50% aren't in favourable conservation status.

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They're being impacted, not only from fishing, but dredging...

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..and the potential of climate change, so we need to...

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..build in some resilience and that's what these sites will do.

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In the Pencaer area of Pembrokeshire...

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..four square kilometres of the sea is under consideration...

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..including Abercastle Bay.

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Neville George is a crab and lobster fisherman.

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He says eight local fisherman with small boats...

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..who work for themselves, could be affected.

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I fish a mile down the coast and I'm in the thick of it.

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These are my wages.

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There wouldn't be any work.

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It's not just the fishermen.

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It's also the people we buy the bait and pots from...

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..the buyers.

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There are a lot of people involved.

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The Government wants to reduce the impact on the sea...

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..to promote biodiversity, rather than protecting specific species.

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The fishermen are worried that they will be pushed to work...

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..in nearby areas and intensify the fishing there.

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The fishermen argue against change if there's no environmental damage.

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There's no scientific evidence at all.

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We go on the sea every day and the crabs and lobsters are good.

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The mackerel are good. I'd say the stocks are good.

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They say otherwise, but they don't have the evidence.

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Anthony Harris is a builder who has enjoyed fishing...

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..from the coast and on the sea since he was young.

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Leisure time is important.

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It's what my brother and I did when we were young boys.

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We'd cycle to Strumble Head and to Abermawr and Aberbach...

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..with lunch boxes from Mam.

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We'd spend all day, every day, enjoying ourselves on the rocks.

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But under the proposals...

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..this would have to stop if Abercastle was chosen.

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Fishing as a hobby, from land or a boat, could be banned.

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The feeling locally is that far more would be lost.

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I couldn't ask for a better life than this.

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Being out, doing something we've enjoyed for years...

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..especially with the boys...

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..catching fish, enjoying the views, the fresh air...

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..and everything this area gives us.

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Where are the fish today?

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It's about socialising, keeping the community together...

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..to enjoy what we have here.

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It would be very sad to lose that.

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It's not just fishing which is under threat.

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The consultation lists all kinds of activities...

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..like pedalos, walking the quay and riding horses on the beaches...

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..if they affect wildlife.

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That's how foolish these plans are...

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..and how much common sense they lack.

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Banning such activities would affect...

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..local people and visitors in these tourist areas.

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Although the Welsh Government has promised to consider...

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..economic and social factors...

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..there has been strong opposition in many coastal communities.

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If visitors found out that the Lleyn Peninsula is closed...

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..they wouldn't come.

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We would lose our tourism industry overnight.

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If this continues, people might buy boats and go elsewhere.

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The cost is a stamp and two minutes to write a letter.

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The cost of not doing that is a serious blow to the area.

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The Countryside Council and the government...

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..have explained that many of the activities...

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..protestors were worried about won't be banned...

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..such as building sand castles on beaches and swimming in the sea.

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But the uncertainty has made it difficult to win the support...

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..of communities which could be affected...

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..and has failed to calm many people's fears.

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However, environmentalists are emphasising the purpose...

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..and size of the zones.

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These are conservation measures, not fisheries measures.

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We'll see benefits, not only from the wildlife point of view...

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..but improved fisheries will also improve the Welsh economy.

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It is less than 1% of the marine environment.

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Many tropical countries have been dealing with the problem for years.

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If they work overseas without affecting the communities...

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..are we in Wales making an unnecessary fuss?

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In the Severn Estuary is an island...

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..which could show the way forward for the Welsh coastline.

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It's home to all kinds of wildlife.

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Twelve miles off the North Devon coast...

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..is a well-known nature reserve.

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It's the first in Britain to be free of any human interference.

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Ten years since the experiment started...

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..Lundy Island is a successful Marine Conservation Zone.

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One person who has followed developments there for decades...

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..is the marine biologist, Professor Tegwyn Harris.

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If the seabed is destroyed...

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..it can take a very long time for something similar to return.

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There are different levels of conservation...

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..and activities which don't cause damage are permitted in some areas.

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That is where the most protected Marine Zone is.

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In the four square kilometres on this side...

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..everything except diving and swimming is banned...

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..including mooring boats, which is what's being considered in Wales.

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The aim is to prevent the seabed being damaged by man...

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..and there are other obvious advantages.

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Fish are easily frightened...

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..and you can have shoals of fish avoiding specific places...

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..because they are frightened time and again.

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If you remove those factors, then the fish will return...

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..and that can affect animals like seals, which eat the fish.

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The effects can spread...

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..way beyond the original objective.

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According to a study on the Marine Zone, within five years...

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..there were four times more lobsters of commercial size.

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The evidence suggests that has a positive impact on nearby areas...

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..where some forms of fishing are allowed.

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The result is that underwater life around this island has increased.

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Even the animals people are allowed to fish have increased.

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It's improved the fisheries for lobsters, for example.

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They are protected so well...

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..around this island...

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..that more of them survive...

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..and grow big enough to be eaten.

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They move out of the areas where they're born...

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..and they get caught.

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It's not just fishermen who are affected.

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Lundy Island is further from the mainland...

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..than the areas being considered in Wales.

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But the island has benefited from its special status.

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Some ten years down the line, what we're seeing here...

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..is that tourism has actually benefited greatly...

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..from the zone because a lot of divers now come to Lundy...

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..where they may have gone somewhere else.

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We're seeing an increase in tourism directly as a result of the zone...

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..and the wider Marine Nature Reserve.

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Nature is not black and white.

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Of the 20 species used in the Lundy study...

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..only three saw a change since the restrictions came to force...

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..all of which used to be fished.

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And while lobster numbers have increased significantly...

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..red eyed crab numbers, eaten by the lobsters, have declined.

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Scientifically, it's too early to assess...

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..the ecological effects of the reserve and celebrate success.

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The fishermen report back that they've seen larger lobsters...

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..but they tend to be male lobsters.

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Lobsters are predatory and cannibalistic...

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..and they eat their own stock.

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The large males have been eating the smaller females so we wonder...

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..how long this explosion of lobsters will continue.

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But what do spill out into the adjacent area...

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..it's such a small area that the amount of lobsters is going to...

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..make an insignificant benefit to the incomes of those fishermen.

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Back in Wales and, unlike Lundy Island...

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..there are complaints of a lack of consultation.

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The general reaction of fishermen in Lleyn was anger...

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..as they filled a questionnaire on the possible effects on them.

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The authorities say there were plenty of meetings...

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..to discuss the proposals...

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..and that there will be further consultation before moving forward.

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The fishermen wanted to be consulted sooner...

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..before the possibility of banning fishing in some areas was chosen.

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It wasn't published. We didn't know it was happening.

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We didn't get a chance to express our views at that time...

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..and that is when the damage was done, to be honest.

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I've told them to come out with us and see how it's done.

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We don't want to destroy anything.

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Did anyone come?

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No.

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No-one.

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At one meeting in Pembrokeshire...

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..we understand the residents of Abercastle were surprised...

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..when representatives from the Welsh Government...

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..acknowledged they had never visited the area.

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We asked the government whether they had visited...

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..any of the ten areas being considered to learn about...

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..the community and the possible effects...

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..the Marine Zones could have.

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A spokesperson told us that Welsh Government officials...

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..weren't aware of any formal visits...

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..to any of the ten areas.

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There may be lessons to be learnt abroad.

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Tanzania in east Africa has a Marine Conservation Zone...

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..to protect one of the richest marine habitats in the world.

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One person who helped establish the Marine Zones...

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..in Tanzania during the 1990s says they have been a success...

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..with the help of one vital element.

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We made sure we communicated with local people.

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That process took around two years.

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Without their support through that communication...

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..I don't know if it's possible.

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Dr Evans and his team were in daily contact with the local people...

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..to prevent damaging methods of fishing, such as using dynamite.

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Because they were using big boats, they had to establish...

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..a partnership with local people.

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You have so many people, including the fishermen, backing the idea.

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They have the right to fish in certain places...

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..if they do it in a sustainable way...

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..and respect the conservation regulations.

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They need the place to work for them.

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With so many communities backing this idea...

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..you have hundreds of police officers.

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You only need a few people to see something like this happening.

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They won't stop it every time, but 90 times out of 100...

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..with information, radios, simple equipment...

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..you can call the enforcement officer into the area...

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..and, after five years, it stopped.

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There are similar complaints in Wales.

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During the night, boats come into our waters...

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..with more damaging fishing methods...

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..like trawling with nets which scrape the seabed.

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Some are calling for this to be stopped...

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..rather than the protection of areas rich in wildlife.

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When the scallops season starts...

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..boats from all over the UK will come to Wales, to Cardigan Bay...

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..and they will trawl up and down.

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They come into the Special Area of Conservation illegally at night...

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..around a mile from land, and then they leave.

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The Government can't do anything about it.

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They say they are monitoring it, sometimes with the RAF or Navy...

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..and they monitor it at times, but you say it doesn't happen.

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It doesn't happen enough.

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According to Welsh Government statistics...

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..seven captains of boats were successfully prosecuted in 2010.

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Six last year.

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The guilty fishermen came from Wales...

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..England, Scotland and other European countries.

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The majority were guilty of breaking fishing laws...

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..six miles or more out at sea.

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Cardiff Bay, and members of the Welsh Fishing Association...

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..putting forward their proposals for the Marine Conservation Zones.

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They suggest working together to police the Marine Zones...

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..but call for areas which would allow...

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..sustainable methods of traditional fishing.

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The Welsh Government promised...

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..that the fishermen's economic and social views would be considered...

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..along with the 7,000 replies received during the first...

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..consultation period.

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The Striking the Balance document is very valuable for us...

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..as part of that engagement and part of that process.

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The title, Striking the Balance, is absolutely what we're trying to do.

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Following the dispute...

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..it is acknowledged that they are better off working together.

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That's the view of an academic who is carrying out...

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..a three-year government study of Welsh fisheries.

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It will provide some suggestions on the best way...

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..to adopt sustainable fishing methods.

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We could look into more spatial-based management...

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..and protect areas to which there is a greater threat...

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..and then areas which are quite resilient...

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..we can allow some activities to continue.

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Evidently, some of these activities have been around the Welsh coats...

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..for quite a while and they haven't done any harm...

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..so that would be the way forward.

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Unless the Assembly provides the resources...

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..to employ a team of people to police it...

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..how will it work?

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The Welsh Government's plans have angered many.

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We wanted to speak to the Environment Minister...

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..John Griffiths, whose department is responsible for the proposals...

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..and will decide on the next step, but he refused.

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We also wanted to speak to the agency which advised...

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..the government and carried out scientific research...

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..the Countryside Council...

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..but they refused because the minister wouldn't be interviewed.

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The Government's next step is getting closer.

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It's committed to establishing Conservation Zones...

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..and feels strongly that something must be done.

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The big question is what sort of regulations will be introduced?

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We mustn't miss this opportunity.

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We can't let the Government bury this...

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..and make no changes.

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We have an opportunity to create a new form of marine conservation...

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..but I don't think Conservation Zones are the way forward.

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S4C subtitled by Red Bee Media Ltd

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Mae cynlluniau i gau rhannau o foroedd Cymru er mwyn creu gwarchodfeydd natur wedi corddi’r dyfroedd gyda protestwyr yn mynu y byddai’n lladd cymunedau arfordirol. Heno bydd T9 yn ymchwilio i gynlluniau cadwraeth dadleuol llywodraeth Cymru – ac yn ymweld a’r lleoliad cyntaf ym Mhrydain i wneud y fath arbrawf i weld os ydi’n bosib arbed bywyd gwyllt heb danseilio cymunedau. Plans to create marine nature reserves by banning fishing and other activities off the Welsh coast have sparked protest – with claims it could destroy coastal communities. Tonight’s T9 raises questions about the Welsh government’s controversial plans – and visits the first ever place in Britain to create such a zone to see if it’s possible to save marine wildlife without undermining communities. Transmitted on 25/09/12 at 9.30pm


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