On my mind

Llanelli Star - - Letters - With Gra­ham Davies

WHEN I was young I loved shell­fish as much as Molly Malone un­til that fate­ful mo­ment my me­tab­o­lism de­cided to meta­mor­phose and abort any mean­ing­ful con­tact with a cockle or mus­sel.

In an at­tempt to ex­plain that un­for­tu­nate oc­ca­sion when the ground shook, I was told ‘long time no sea.’

Now, in a sleepy lit­tle Brit-free Span­ish town, where thank­fully no sight­ings have ever been made of com­mu­nal gath­er­ings of the stag or hen, I look long­ingly at the lo­cal catch cooked to per­fec­tion and eaten to obliv­ion.

The lo­cal menus re­count the aquatic bat­tles with the white mul­let, sea bass, gilt­head bream, sole and carp while the mus­sel and oys­ter beds of the Ebro delta of­fer an ex­plo­sive briny gas­tro­nomic ex­pe­ri­ence.

The la­goons, sur­rounded by rice fields, are home to a va­ri­ety of wild life in­clud­ing ducks, coots, cor­morants, flamin­gos, herons and terns. Un­sur­pris­ingly, they at­tract tourists in large num­bers.

Yet we too can com­pete and boast of the Burry in­let, with its mud­flats, salt marshes, streams and la­goons which pro­vide a haven for an abun­dance of an­i­mal and plant life, birds and fish.

Yet the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing the mus­sel and cockle beds in the Loughor estuary is noth­ing short of a national dis­grace.

Re­ports are con­fus­ing and un­help­ful to such an ex­tent that there is no con­sen­sus about whether the prob­lem is sewage pol­lu­tion, chem­i­cal spillage, par­a­sites or over­crowd­ing, or some­thing else.

One thing is clear – there is no progress at the mo­ment in deal­ing with an is­sue that raised its ugly head in 2005 and con­tin­ues to the present day.

What is a po­ten­tially huge lo­cal eco­nomic and tourist at­trac­tion is be­ing al­lowed to sink into a mire of ob­fus­ca­tion.

Any­one care? Fol­low Gra­ham on Twit­[email protected]

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