Pembrokeshire Marine Code Creator
1016. John O'Connor
John O’Connor, from Pembrokeshire, is the creator of a pioneering app which improves the protection of local coastlines and reduces the devastating impact of marine litter caused by lost or discarded fishing tackle.
John, an experienced fisherman for over 50 years, has seen firsthand the damage caused to marine habitats and wildlife by fishing litter, which can take up to 600 years to decompose. He has used his expertise to develop the ‘Pembrokeshire Marine Code App’, which features a code of conduct for local and visiting anglers and shares information to help avoid the loss of fishing tackle. He works closely with the voluntary divers group, ‘Neptune’s Army of Rubbish Cleaners’, led by Point of Light #920 Dave Kennard, to produce information on the seabed and provide tackle litter bins at popular fishing locations.
In a personal letter to John, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The Pembrokeshire Marine Code app is sharing important advice on how to conserve the area’s protected coasts by avoiding fishing litter. You are making a vital contribution to reducing the damage of fishing equipment on our marine environment.”
Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire, said:
“This is really important recognition for a brilliant idea. John has been ahead of the game for years in recognising the risks posed by marine pollution but has actually taken action – successfully. He is an example to the rest of us.”
“I’m gobsmacked, totally out of the blue. One doesn’t volunteer to get recognition but it is nice when it occurs. It’s great to see ones advice and tips about things one is passionate about being taken seriously. Hopefully, this sort of recognition can inspire others to volunteer and get involved in whatever sphere they choose, but it would be great to get more angling volunteers, especially in Wales and Pembrokeshire.”