Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is taking steps to encourage salmon and sewin (sea trout) to reach their spawning grounds and improve stocks.
The dry September weather has been a welcome treat for most but for Wales’ fish populations the lack of rain is hindering their annual migration.
To combat this, NRW has worked with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to release water into the rivers Tywi and Cleddau to encourage adult salmon and sewin to enter the rivers from Carmarthen Bay.
Dave Mee, Fisheries Team Leader for Natural Resources Wales, said:
“The River Tywi and its population of salmon and sea trout is worth an estimated £10.2 million to the Welsh economy and the release will benefit anglers as well as boost fish numbers.
“The prolonged dry summer has meant that flows in all our rivers are unusually low but it’s hoped the release will encourage migratory fish, especially salmon, to enter the rivers from the sea.”
The release will take place over five days, beginning on Monday morning, with water from Llyn Brianne and Llys y Fran reservoirs being released into the rivers.
The release of additional water from the reservoirs will not affect the public water supply and people who use the river have been alerted to take care as the flow will increase to four times its current level.
When Llyn Brianne Reservoir was built in the late 1960s a water bank was created to help mitigate against the loss of natural floods and to help fish migrate at critical times of the year.
A similar but much smaller release from Llys y Fran has been arranged for the Eastern Cleddau and it will be the first time the fisheries’ water bank has been used to help fish stocks in the Cleddau.
Although indications are that sewin numbers have slightly improved this year, salmon returns continue to struggle.
“As well as this release of water, anglers too can help us protect and improve these vulnerable stocks by releasing the fish they catch so they can continue on their way to spawn.”
Tony Harrington, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s Director of Environment said:
“After the driest September in almost 100 years, we are pleased to be working with Natural Resources Wales on this project which will help protect aquatic life in these rivers.
“As well as storing water for drinking water purposes, some of our reservoirs also play a vital role in helping to regulate river levels to ensure fish habitats are protected. This is particularly true after such a dry spell such as this and reflects our commitment to protect the natural environment in our care.
“The release of the water will be carefully managed to ensure that the reservoirs continue to meet the drinking water needs of our customers in