It was a surprise meeting of three Maestegians in Milford Haven this week when Huw Irranca-Davies visited a fisheries enforcement vessel in Milford Haven harbour as part of a Welsh Assembly committee enquiry.
His committee were investigating marine and fisheries issues off West Wales, and as part of the enquiry were meeting the Welsh Government’s fisheries enforcement team. These are a small team of expert individuals who track and monitor fisheries vessels in our Welsh waters, and chase down and prosecute vessels fishing illegally in our territorial waters. The work is a combination of hi-tech surveillance and intelligence, intuition, and hard-nosed investigation and enforcement.
Accompanying Huw was Rebecca Ackerman, a former Maesteg School student now studying politics in Leicester University, who was shadowing Huw for a week in his constituency work in Ogmore and his wider role as an AM. When they boarded the vessel in Milford Haven as part of the committee enquiry, they were surprised and delighted to be met by key fisheries enforcement officer Matthew Dawkins who showed them around the vessel and explained the work of the enforcement team.
Huw said “The work of our fisheries enforcement teams is critical in making sure we have sustainable fisheries now and long into the future. I’ve met Matthew before to draw on his huge experience in fisheries enforcement and management, but it was a real bonus to meet him on board his place of work. For Rebecca I think it was a real eye-opener to see how the influence of people from back-home spreads to all parts of Wales, and all walks of life. Matthew is an inspiration in the work he does, and I hope our young people from Ogmore are inspired to follow their talents wherever that takes them.”