The proposed ‘All Wales’ rod and net fishing byelaws 2017, were submitted to Welsh Government for confirmation on 20 February 2018.
The Cabinet Secretary announced her conclusion that given “the level of response to the consultation, the number of outstanding objections to the byelaw proposals and the nature of the correspondence” it is “the most appropriate course of action to conduct a local inquiry which will allow independent scrutiny of NRW’s proposals.”
The Planning Inspectorate Wales has been asked to initiate a local inquiry under the Water Resources Act 1991. At the conclusion of the inquiry, the Planning Inspector will make a recommendation to Welsh Ministers, which will inform their final determination of the application for confirmation of the byelaws.
The inquiry, which will be held in Newtown, Powys, is due to begin on 15 January 2019, and is scheduled to last for three weeks.
Why have NRW proposed new byelaws?
Our salmon stocks are in very serious trouble, many having declined to historically low levels. The same is true of about two thirds of our iconic sea trout stocks. Neither can sustain uncontrolled fishing, so it is essential that we ensure all salmon have the chance to survive and breed.
The decline in salmon stocks is widespread across the North Atlantic. In Wales 20 of our 23 principal salmon stocks and 21 of our 33 main sea trout stocks will fail to achieve management targets until at least 2022. Six of the failing salmon stocks support designations of rivers under the Habitats Directive.
Our proposals seek to achieve medium to long-term sustainability whilst ensuring that, in the meantime, fishing can continue albeit with zero intentional kill of salmon and, in defined rivers, some sea trout.
We carried out a statutory consultation on new net and rod fishing byelaws to prevent the killing of salmon, and thereby to safeguard stocks and fishing in the medium to long-term.
Our case is set out in full in our technical case, which can be found on our web pages
Salmon and sea trout catch controls 2017 consultations along with further information.
Why has WG referred the matter to a local inquiry?
The Cabinet Secretary wrote to NRW 8th August notifying that “Given the level of response to the consultation, the number of outstanding objections to the byelaw proposals and the nature of the correspondence I have received, I have decided the most appropriate course of action will be to conduct a local inquiry into these byelaw proposals”
“A local inquiry will allow independent scrutiny of the proposed Byelaws, the objections which have been made and the evidence presented by all parties and enable me to reach a conclusion as to how best to proceed.”
What will the local inquiry consider?
The inquiry will allow independent scrutiny of the proposed Byelaws, the objections which have been made and the evidence presented by all parties.
Where and when will the inquiry take place?
The Inquiry is scheduled to commence on 15th January 2019 at 10am and is expected to last for three weeks.
The venue will be the Elephant and Castle Hotel in Newtown
Who is conducting the inquiry?
The Planning Inspectorate Wales will conduct the local inquiry under the procedures laid-out in the Water Resources Act 1991.
At its conclusion, the Planning Inspector will make a recommendation to Welsh Government Ministers, which will inform their final determination of the application for confirmation of the byelaws.
What part will NRW play in the inquiry?
While we did not expect this decision, we welcome the opportunity to present our case and evidence.
NRW will contribute strongly to the inquiry and we look forward to presenting the evidence that we used to develop our proposals to independent scrutiny.
Has the state of Welsh salmon stocks changed since the byelaw proposals were made?
Since our technical case supporting new fishing controls was published, further evidence on stock status has been collected.
The latest adult stock status, based on the 2017 stock assessment, shows no improvement and a generally ongoing decline in salmon stocks and some key sea trout stocks. The latest assessments can be found on our web pages Salmon and sea trout stocks in Wales .
New evidence on juvenile populations from 2017 confirms the serious concerns following the 2015/16 spawning failures with significant shortfalls in yearling parr.
This is likely to lead to significant deficits in adult salmon from 2019 to 2021.
What will happen after the local inquiry?
The inquiry is scheduled to finish by 1 February 2019. When the discussions with all parties are complete, the Inspector will consider all evidence, prepare a report and make recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary who will make the final decision.
The Cabinet Secretary can accept or reject the Inspector’s advice.
Welsh Government will consider the report, which will inform their final determination of the application for confirmation of the byelaws.
The Cabinet Secretary may confirm, modify, or refuse any byelaws submitted to them by NRW.