Sea Change Champion 2017 Winner

We are pleased to announce that John O'Connor, chairman of the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers, has won this year's Sea Change Champion Award.

Sea Change champion 2017 - John O'Connor

Sea Change Champion 2017 winner - John O'Connor, chairman of the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers

John stood out for his work to minimise the impact of angling on wild animals and the environment. As part of his tireless campaigning and engagement work, John worked with volunteer divers, Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC), to create leaflets and tips on keeping Pembrokeshire’s coast free of fishing tackle litter. We hope to see these tips used for other coastlines as we all work together to close the loop on fishing gear. 

The people that this award has highlighted have made an outstanding contribution to addressing ghost gear, from modifications to fishing equipment, to limiting the impact of ghost fishing, to championing schemes designed to recover ghost gear and finding solutions to recycle equipment at the end of its life. We believe these practices are the future of sustainable fishing and provide practical and affordable examples for fishers to reduce the impact of ghost gear on the marine environment and protect marine animals.

John was nominated by David Jones from Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners (NARC). NARC is a group of volunteer divers that retrieve ghost gear from the ocean and they have worked with John to highlight the issue of fishing tackle litter in Pembrokeshire.

What is the Sea Change campaign?

Sea Change is a campaign dedicated to reducing the impact of lost fishing gear on the marine environment. We are working with the industry to develop sustainable solutions to this problem.

Our goal is to:

  • Support the development and replication of successful ghost gear mitigation projects.
  • Ensure that lost fishing gear can be recovered and, ideally, recycled.
  • Raise awareness of the positive work the fishing industry is undertaking to address the issue.

Why we are giving this award

Every day, the fishing community strives to find new ways to minimise their impact on the ocean and its animals. We want to champion those at the forefront of these activities and encourage others to join them.

Find out more about our Sea Change campaign.

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