A 12-week consultation on proposals for new catch control bye-laws for salmon fishing on the Welsh side of the River Severn will begin today (Wednesday 20 June).
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is making the proposals in response to the dramatic decline in stocks of salmon and sea trout in Welsh rivers in recent years.
While the situation on the Severn does not give the same cause for concern as many other Welsh rivers, some important existing byelaws expire in December and these proposals are necessary to ensure stocks are protected.
Peter Gough, Principal Fisheries Officer for Natural Resources Wales, said:
“There are continuing concerns around the numbers of salmon returning to our rivers and the future of many fisheries is now threatened.
“Put simply, there are not enough adult fish spawning to sustain stocks at their current levels or to prevent further decline.
“We are now seeking views on the catch control proposals which will protect vulnerable stocks while maintaining the important environmental and economic benefits associated with fishing.
“NRW is tackling other factors affecting fish stocks such as habitat damage, pollution and illegal exploitation, however it believes these proposals can make a real difference.”
The proposals for the Severn are
- All salmon to be returned before the 16th June,
- Prohibition of bait fishing before 16th June,
- Prohibition of some fishing hooks and trebles when fishing for salmon and sea trout to improve the ease of catch and release and increase the survival rates of released fish
The proposals mirror the Environment Agency’s recent consultation on the English bank of the river and would be in place for 10 years until 2028.
The byelaws are intended to protect vulnerable stocks, while maintaining many of the important benefits associated with the fisheries.
“Just as the Severn is an iconic river, the salmon is an iconic fish and we must do everything in our power to ensure stocks recover and thrive in the future.
“We recognise the need for a fully integrated whole-catchment approach for our border rivers and we are working with the EA to ensure that this happens in a practical and sensible way.”
Full details on the proposals and information on how people can have their say can be found on the Natural Resources Wales website at naturalresources.wales/RiverSevernByelaws