Angling Trust

Angling club to champion students’ research into river conservation

Angling Trust member Afan Valley Angling and Conservation Club (AVACC) has formed a long-term partnership with Swansea University to champion research and conservation in South Wales rivers.

The agreement will see AVACC make an annual donation of £1,000 for the next 20 years to support one or two undergraduate or postgraduate students carrying out vital research projects within the Afan catchment and similar river systems in south Wales.

These projects will focus on understanding and conserving the biodiversity of the Afan catchment, tackling critical environmental issues such as pollution, habitat fragmentation, climate change, and the impact of land use changes. The scope of research will encompass all freshwater species within the River Afan, including fish, invertebrates, plants, and mammals.

The bursary will be known as the AVACC Presidents Environmental Award in dedication of the work of all the Presidents, Vice Presidents and Committee Members since the club formed in 1951. It is believed to be the first award of its kind by an angling club in the UK and will hopefully set a precedent for future collaborations between clubs and academic institutions.

The first two recipients of the award, Dorothy Hazel and Rhys Sweeny, will undertake their MSc research projects mapping and assessing the impacts of road culverts in the Afan catchment, supervised by Professor Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Director of the Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Research (CSAR) at Swansea’s Department of Biosciences.

“This partnership represents a fantastic opportunity for our biosciences students to carry out their dissertations on research projects that matter to local people, and work towards the conservation and restoration of the River Afan and similar rivers in south Wales,” said Professor Garcia de Leaniz.

Professor Helen Griffiths, Swansea University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, expressed her gratitude for the partnership: “We are deeply thankful to the Afan Valley Angling and Conservation Club for their foresight and generosity. This long-term funding will aid significant research in conserving our natural resources and provide invaluable opportunities for our Biosciences students to engage in hands-on environmental work.”

John Phillips, President for Life of AVACC, said: “Our club has always been dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and ecological health of the Afan Valley. By partnering with Swansea University, we are investing in the future of our rivers and ensuring that the next generation of environmental scientists can continue this vital work.”

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