Thursday 16th January, 2020
Most Welsh anglers will have heard of the new byelaws that were recently introduced by Natural Resources Wales, effective from January 1st.
The new regulations mean that all salmon caught by rod and net fisheries must be released, as must all rod-caught sea trout over 60cm. There are also further restrictions on angling methods designed to improve the survival of released fish.
The new laws apply to all rivers in Wales except the cross border Wye and Dee. Natural Resources Wales expect to announce new laws for fishing these two rivers in the “next few weeks.”
This move from the statutory authorities has come with a great deal of controversy. Many in the angling community believe that the byelaws are more of a political move rather than a serious effort to help dwindling fish stocks in Wales. They argue that the real causes for the decline in salmon and sea trout, such as diffuse pollution, are more difficult to solve and that the Government has taken a much easier but ultimately ineffective path in their fishery management duties.
Natural Resources Wales are drafting a new action plan for salmon and sea trout fisheries in Wales. We will bring you this, along with our views once it has been published. In the meantime, the Foundation believes (and has made representations to the effect) that rivers and their fish stocks have to be managed on a catchment-wide basis rather than by national and regional boundaries.
Whatever the outcome of the new byelaws, anglers will have to abide by them. We urge anyone who is planning to a fishing trip to the Wye, Usk or any other river in Wales this year to familiarise themselves with the changes.