Fishing with nets and traps

Net and trap fisheries

There are a variety of net and trap fisheries operating around Wales and now mainly targeting sea trout in estuaries and coastal waters.

Fishing for all life stages of eels in Wales was suspended by NRW in 2021.

We do not authorise the trapping of non-native (signal) crayfish for commercial or personal consumption in Wales.


We are responsible for authorising fishing for eels in Wales using powers under Section 27A of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Act, 1975.

Due to concerns about low eel numbers, we no longer issue authorisations to fish commercially for eels in Wales, however, we may issue authorisations to use nets and traps to catch eels for scientific or research purposes. Before applying for authorisation please discuss your proposals with one of our local Fishery Officers.

Salmon and sea trout net licences

Salmon and sea trout are caught using a range of nets and traps. These include compass nets, draft nets, wade nets (including lave nets) and coracle nets.

We regulate these fisheries using a combination of Byelaws and Net Limitation Orders (NLOs).

It should be noted that all salmon caught by these fisheries must now be released following capture. Byelaw catch restrictions also apply to sea trout.


We are responsible for authorising the removal of non-native crayfish as well as licensing the removal of native crayfish in Wales. The native, white-clawed crayfish is a protected species.

Because of risks to native crayfish and research showing that trapping may lead to increased population size of signal crayfish, we do not authorise fishing for non-native crayfish in Wales. We will, however, occasionally authorise trapping for research or management purposes. We recommend you discuss your proposals with us before formally applying for an authorisation. Alternatively, complete the application from below and we will contact you if necessary.

Signal crayfish licensing

Signal crayfish are listed as a species of concern under the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019. Activities associated with the management of any species of concern require a licence from us. Read more about the licensing requirements when dealing with signal crayfish.

Or contact us to discuss your proposals.

Further information

For further information please contact us on 0300 065 3000 or email

Related document downloads

Form CR1: Application to trap and/or remove crayfish Application to trap and/or remove Crayfish PDF [89.4 KB]
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