Minutes of the 50th Annual General Meeting at the Ex-Serviceman’s Club on Wednesday 11th November 2015.
1. OPENING THE MEETING
The Chairman opened the meeting at 7.30pm
2. MINUTES OF THE LAST ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting held on 12th November 2014 were read and accepted
3. MATTERS ARISING
3.1 The Chairman commented that we are still “in the dark” as to the intensions of the Welsh Assembly Governments intensions regarding access to inland waters (by canoes).
3.2 The Chairman gave an updated account of the Waters owned by the Association, the current estimated value of the these assets is £900.000 (nine hundred thousand pounds). The value of the Usk Waters is based on the number of migratory fish caught which this year were 38 salmon and 1 sewin.
3.3 Arising from a question from the floor the Treasurer explained where and how day permits were sold and the possibility of setting such permits ‘on line’ was discussed.
4. GENERAL ANNUAL REPORT
For 2015 1000 11” – !2” Brown Trout were stocked into the River Taff and 200 Rainbows into Cantref.
For our lakes and ponds the following coarse fish were introduced
150 1½lb Bream
1000 8” – 10” Bream
500 8” – 10” Tench
500 8” – 10” Perch
500 3” – 5” Gudgeon
500 8” – -10” Rudd
250 8” – 10” Crucian Carp
50 4lb Carp
The total estimated weight of the coarse fish was 1000lbs and more coarse fish are planned for 2016.
Members will be aware that for the last few years Ron Jones and Nigel Morgan have been conducting a survey of trout catches on the River Taff. This year they report there has been a significant increase in the numbers and size of the natural trout present which appears to justify the lower numbers of stock trout placed in the river over the last few years, so for 2016 we intend to continue to reduce the numbers of trout we stock.
FISHERY IMPROVEMENTS AND ACQUISITIONS
Maintenance of our fisheries continue to be carried out as and when required.
· Several mini islands have been placed in Cyfarthfa Lake to help with spawning, fish protection and produce insect life.
· Repairs have been completed to the banks of the Mardy Fishery
· Blockstone has been delivered to Troedyrhiw in advance of building a weir in the river above the Girls and Boys club (This has been approved by Natural Resources Wales).
· Welsh Water are currently undertaking major civil engineering works on the Upper Neaudd and while the reservoir is closed to fishing we are using Cantref instead at no extra cost.
· Four new litter bins have been installed at Penywern Ponds
· We have been investigating the possibility of creating a parking area at the land we own at Pontygwaith but unfortunately Merthyr Council refuse to support the proposal.
· The Chairman and Treasurer have investigated the potential purchase of a further stretch of the River Usk below Abergavenny but did not pursue it as it was not considered good value for money.
· The Chairman and Treasurer have also been looking at the potential of renting a coarse lake just outside of Borough but this is at an early stage.
· The Treasurer has been in discussions with Welsh Water about the possibility of a ten year lease on the waters we currently rent but despite extensive efforts nothing has been resolved as it is proving very difficult to obtain responses from them.
· From regular trappings by John Kinsey it appears that there is a sizeable reduction of the numbers of crayfish in Cyfarthfa Lake
· Despite extensive investigations and monitoring the source of the regular pollution point above Cefn Bridge cannot be traced.
· Our coaches have been very busy again this year with numerous taster days with both schools and Community Groups on our own waters and other venues.
· Our bailiffs have again been very active visiting all our waters dealing with many acts of poaching including one incident where two Poles were caught with a 4lb pike in a bag. These men have been banned for life from fishing Association Waters
During the year the committee have been discussing the viability of senior trout and all junior competitions due to the general lack of interest with some match’s only having one entrant. Consequently it has been decided that these fixtures have been suspended until interest improves. Senior coarse matches will continue as normal.
As a result of the lack of interest the Committee have also been considering the future of the format of the Annual Presentation evening which would clearly be very poorly attended without junior members and their families and also the fact that it costs about £1500 to put on. It is probably that a scaled down event would take place for the senior coarse winners.
5. FINANCIAL REPORT
Treasurers Report For Annual General Meeting November 11th 2015
This year we have seen our finances holding just about to last year’s figures but it was the sales of day permits that made this happen. It was something I noticed through the year and it prompted me to look at where we could halt the decline in full permit sales. Our Pond permits doubled from 2014 so looking at this although sales were small did indicate that if we could make ourselves known we could increase our membership again. Some of the day tickets sales were actually from 2014 as they related to payments from WUF that came in after our financial year
In the light of this and working on the membership from 2015 I proposed to the committee that we look to dropping joining fees and offering a one price ticket for all. My proposal was for a permit at £60 for all seniors £35 for Senior Citizens and leaving the Juniors, whose membership has fallen again, at last year’s prices of over 11 £27-50 and under 11 £15. If everyone re-joined we would be status quo on finance for full permits, day tickets being variable. The committee agreed to this and a vote will be taken tonight. We have also undertaken an audit on our day tickets and those persons who have purchased three or more will also be sent an application to join. If the above is accepted post this meeting as soon as possible applications will be sent out.
We committed last year to a large restocking of coarse fish and this has been carried out we have a smaller programme for this year. We finally agreed with Merthyr Council to pay for two rent reviews which was an increase of £500 per annum on average over the ten years (£5,000). Another rent review is due in 2016 we will be taking a hard line on this as we feel we do a lot of work for Merthyr Council that justifies a large concession.
We had two grants towards the installing of the coir rolls at Cyfarthfa totalling £1,700 we paid the rest ourselves from previous funding. We have been working towards river improvements on our land at The Boys Club Troedyrhiw and to this end the Chairman negotiated five lorry loads of Block stone from Ffos Y Fran with us paying for the transport We also purchased another two lorry loads at £1,120 which together with the delivery came to £2,120 We hope to install two weirs to deepen the river on the site.
Looking ahead we are now working with our accountant to form the two companies which was accepted we do over a year ago. It is for that reason I did not invest or funds in 2015 but this will be taken on board as well as the fact that we need to reduce our balances in our present bank as due to European legislation any funds in one particular registered bank over £75k will not be protected. All this is now in hand and being discussed with the Accountant. It may be short term interest rates will be small but better that than for us to lose any funds.
We indicated our support for the extension to the Railway building in Cyfarthfa Park in the hope we could use it on bad days when we have events there. This has now progressed and should be open before Christmas. We will then look to running some classes for Juniors during the New Year probably on a Saturday and see what response we get. In the bid was also funding for equipment so in effect a win win for us.
We had funding to install litter bins at Penywern and this has been done with some success in holding back the litter tide. We are also in the process of applying for Green Flag Status for the Top Pond area. We also have £1k in the bank to make a new notice for Top Pond to replace the one that has been burnt. The thinking is to make one from stone as this would appear to offer the most durability.
There are other ideas already being worked on to see if we can get more grant funding to help us in improvements on our waters.
I would like to finish by thanking those who have been generous with their time in turning out to help us keep our waters litter free and sympathise with them on the continual need to have to do this when much of the litter is angler related. I must mention the help that our two youngest committee members have given in helping the oldest on the committee to improve both our lake in the park and Top Pond.
Tony Rees Treasurer
For a copy of the balance sheet email Tony and he will send you one firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary Mr Rhys Evans Report
I would firstly like to thank both the committee and members for making my first year as secretary a memorable and productive one. Since the last AGM, there have been several important developments which I would like to discuss in this brief report.
Towards the end of last year and the first few months of this year, the Association completed its planned coarse fish restocking programme. The stocking was as a direct result of the recommendations set out by APEM through their survey and subsequent report on fish numbers in Cyfarthfa Lake, Top Pond Penywern and Middle Pond Penywern. The restocking programme effected only Top Pond and Cyfarthfa Lake, due to the planned extension of the A465 road at Middle Pond. A broad variety of fish were stocked including barbel, carp, roach, perch, bream, tench, gudgeon and rudd to name a few. In addition to the recommendation of increasing fish stocks, we were also advised to improve the habitat to encourage breeding and to decrease the number of casualties lost to fish eating birds. The club has now installed eight fully planted mini islands that act as a refuge for the fish, along with the replanting of existing islands at Cyfarthfa Lake. Furthermore, nets were placed on the back of these mini islands with an aim to encourage small silver fish to spawn on them. Later in the summer, two coir rolls containing a variety of species of plants were also installed at the shallow end of the lake for the same purpose. The measures taken by the club seem to be working shown through the outstanding fishing available at our ponds this year.
As 2015 was my first full year as secretary, I spent some time with the chairman visiting the numerous waters the Association owns outside of the Merthyr Borough. I was fortunate enough to visit the club’s Kemeys beat on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year. We spent a few hours walking the beat, where the chairman relayed the history behind the stretch along with some tips on the best pools. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and would highly recommend visiting the site to appreciate the surroundings and natural beauty, even if you are not a game angler. I would like to thank Mr Nigel Morgan and his small work party who volunteer to complete all necessary maintenance work each year at both the Kemeys and the Mardy.
In the middle of the year three bins were installed at Top Pond and a further one at Middle Pond in a bid to combat the litter problem at both sites. The Association is aware that both ponds are used as a thoroughfare by the public travelling to and from the Asda area and understand that some litter is dropped by them, however the majority of waste left at both sites is mainly due to the anglers who are night fishing. There have been an abundance of fires lit, and I would like to warn members that if this vandalism and general disregard of our responsibilities as anglers when on club waters, the Association will consider banning night fishing altogether. Our thanks go out to Mr Keith Jones who tirelessly spends many hours each week collecting the litter at the both ponds.
At Cyfarthfa Lake there has also been a marked increase in litter and other debris floating into the sides. On behalf of the club and its members, I would like to thank Mr Malcolm Williams who effortlessly keeps the lake clean every day, without whom the lake would be unfishable.
As I am sure that many people are aware, there has been an infestation of American Signal Crayfish at Cyfarthfa Lake for the past few years. The numbers of these pests have been controlled by licensed trapping done by committee member Mr John Kinsey. In previous years the numbers he has caught have reached well over a thousand, but thankfully this year John has seen a significant decrease in the number he is catching, so the trapping would seem to be a success and will continue next year.
This year, the club have had the fishing rights at Cantref Reservoir, in exchange for the fishing lost at the Neuadd due to maintenance work on the dam being carried out. The committee have received superb reports of member’s catches at Cantref and it is with delight that we announce that we have the fishing rights there for the foreseeable future, with the unlikelihood of the Neuadd ever being full with water again.
In conjunction with previous years the club has had an abundance of competitors competing in our game and coarse matches. The number of entrants at senior level have been maintained, however unfortunately the same cannot be said for the junior section. Due to only a couple of children entering the junior coarse matches, it was decided that all junior coarse competitions be cancelled until further notice, with the hope of them starting back up in the not so distant future.
As well as holding competitions, coaching plays a large part in the club’s calendar and I would like to thank all the coaches along with head coach Mr Bernard Farr who continues to organise all the hugely successful events for a broad variety of groups and ages.
The club would like to welcome our new vice-president Mr Gerald Jones MP, MP for Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney, and we look forward to working alongside him in the future.
Finally I would like to thank bailiffs Mr Jason Payne, Mr Thomas Payne and Mr Steven Charleston who diligently patrol our waters all year round, and to all members who keep a watchful eye throughout the year.
6. ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE FOR 2016
President Huw Lewis AM
Vice President’s Gerald Jones MP
Chairman Gary Davies
Vice Chairman Mark Williams
Deputy Vice Chairman Keith Jones
Secretary Rhys Evans
Treasurer Tony Rees
Minutes Secretary Graham Davies
Membership Secretary Malcolm Williams
Competition Sec – Coarse Doug Hawkins
Competition Sec – Trout Gavin Jehu
Competition Sec – Ladies Catherine Brown
IT Officer John Coombs
Press Officer Daniel Popp
Coaching Officer Bernard Farr
Head Bailiff Steve Charleston
Bailiffs Jason Payne
Committee Nigel Morgan
6, PERMIT FEES FOR 2016
For 2016 the Treasurer supported by the Committee recommended the following:
6.1 That all joining fees be ended.
6.2 Standard senior membership will be £60, OAP membership will be £35, Junior membership shall remain as at 2015.
It was proposed by Malcolm Williams seconded by Keith Jones that the above be accepted.
Amendment by Peter Williams seconded by Simon Collier that senior membership by £50 and that there be a joining fee of £10.
The amendment received 2 votes and the proposition 15 votes. Therefore the proposal carried.
7. CHANGES TO RULES AND REGULATIONS
The Committee have been considering the types of hooks used on all Association waters raised in the last AGM and propose the following:
7.1 With regard to coarse fishing the Committee propose that barbless hooks only shall be used on all waters including single, double and treble hooks.
An amendment by John Coombs seconded by Gavin Jehu that the above be accepted but for pike fishing semi-barbless treble hooks be permitted, semi-barbless means that one of the hooks of the treble may have a micro barb and that hook is the one used to hook into dead bait.
The amendment carried 9 votes to 4 votes
7.2 In respect of game fishing it is proposed that we await guidance from Natural Resources Wales before amending our rules and this was agreed.
7.3 It was proposed by Jason Payne, seconded by Tony Rees that pike fishing be allowed 52 weeks of the year instead of having a closed season as at present. An amendment by Gavin Jehu seconded by Doug Hawkins that the existing close season should remain.
Proposal carried by 14 votes to 5.
8. CORRESPONDENCE – None
9. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
9.1 It was agreed that the issue of allowing day tickets on Fish Pond Penywern be placed on the agenda for the next AGM
9.2 It was agreed that the season on Cantref Reservoir will be 1 March to 30 November for Rainbow Trout, inclusive in any year.
9.3 It was agreed that the Wye Usk Foundation be allowed to advertise our Association on their web site, at no cost to us.
9.4 There has been a suggestion by Merthyr Council to impose car parking charges at Cyfarthfa Park. Details are unknown at present and any effect on our members will need to be taken into account as we already pay an annual rental for the use of the lake. Further information is awaited.
10. CLOSE OF MEETING
The Chairman closed the meeting and thanked members for their attendance.