Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is asking anglers in Wales to help conserve fish stocks by voluntarily agreeing to release all the salmon and more of the sea trout they catch in 2018.
The request comes as the latest assessments confirm stocks of these iconic fish continue to face severe challenges.
From Saturday (June 16), anglers can take the salmon they catch on all Welsh rivers, apart from the Wye and the Taff where mandatory catch and release is already in place.
NRW is tackling other factors affecting fish stocks such as habitat damage, pollution and illegal exploitation, but it believes that returning all salmon to the water can make a real difference.
Dave Mee, Senior Fisheries Advisor for NRW, said:
“What is really encouraging is that the majority of anglers are already voluntarily releasing the fish they catch, but we feel the situation is now so serious for salmon that we need all anglers to play their part.
“The number of salmon and sea trout migrating into many Welsh rivers was worryingly low last year so it’s vital that we give every fish the chance to swim upstream to spawn and boost the next generation.”
“Survival of salmon at sea has declined markedly and is currently at a historic low. It is difficult to tackle this, and there are additional pressures on our fish stocks, but anglers can help safeguard our stocks by allowing more fish to survive.”
NRW has submitted an application to Welsh Government for new byelaws to introduce mandatory catch and release and fishing method controls to Welsh rivers in 2019, and these are currently being considered by Welsh Government.
The latest salmon and sea trout assessment reports and a catch and release good practice guide can be found on the NRW website.