Amelia takes the helm as new chair of Northumberland Inshore Fisheries Authority after Les announces his retirement

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Following a 15-year tenure, the chair of the Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) has announced his retirement.

Les Weller has been an unwavering advocate for sustainable fisheries management and the preservation of marine ecosystems throughout this period.

After an extensive search for his successor, the authority has announced that Amelia Henderson – a dedicated recreational angler and advocate for marine conservation – is its new chairperson.

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Les’ passion for fishing led him to play a pivotal role in establishing the National Federation of Sea Angling. Upon retiring as a detective superintendent in 2004, he relocated to Northumberland, where he continued his fervent dedication to fishing and coastal conservation.

Les Weller and his successor Amelia Henderson.Les Weller and his successor Amelia Henderson.
Les Weller and his successor Amelia Henderson.

Under his stewardship, NIFCA has made significant progress in safeguarding coastal habitats and promoting responsible fishing practices along the Northumberland and North Tyneside coasts.

Mark Southerton, chief officer of NIFCA, said: “Les has been a steadfast pillar of support for NIFCA, embodying our values of dedication and passion for marine conservation.

“His leadership has been instrumental in our achievements over the past 15 years and he leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire us.”

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Amelia, a resident of Blyth, has been a volunteer member of NIFCA since 2022 and serves as the secretary of the Bedlington Sea Angling Club.

In her new role, she pledges to collaborate with stakeholders, fishing communities and conservation groups to ensure the sustainable management of coastal waters and the protection of marine biodiversity, and she added that she is “deeply honoured to follow in Les’ footsteps”.

“Her experience and commitment to environmental stewardship make her the ideal candidate to lead us into the future,” added Mr Southerton.

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