Last update: 17th January 2020

To Ceri Davies at NRW: thanks Chris

Ceri,

I note that you are a signatory on behalf of NRW on the attached 2018 protocol for the disposal of contaminated water.

I have real concerns on the disposal of wash water from poultry farms due to the impact of the disinfectant on the aquatic environment.

I expressed my concerns at the last Fisheries Forum about the approval of a planning application and construction of a 150,000 bird poultry farm at Fron Bella Farm, Hafod Denbigh, Conwy with approval for a further 75,000 birds (location slides attached). This farm is at 300 m (984 ft) on the head waters of a major spawning tributary of the upper Conwy and is claimed to produce 7.1 Tonne of manure per year. It is unclear from the permit for this farm how wash water will be disposed. Assuming the use of Virkon S applied at the DEFRA dosing rate for poultry farms of 2.8Kg in 750 ltr (0.33 mg/ltr) to cover 2,300 sq m then for the two sheds (each shed is approx 2,000 sq m) it will take 1,500 ltr each time they are cleaned, this occurs 6 time per year producing at least 1,000 ltr of contaminated water for each wash (allowing for evaporation). At this concentration (0.33 mg/ltr) any run-off into the surrounding fields will be lethal to aquatic invertebrates, the data sheet for Virkon S says 0.22 mg/ltr is lethal to aquatic invertebrates and 0.29 mg/ltr is lethal to terrestrial insects. Should the wash water tank be emptied and then sprayed on the surround fields if will find its way into the Afon Nug and then Afon Merddwr both are spawning streams on the upper Conwy, it has taken 15 years to establish this spawning area. In addition it is likely that this water if sprayed on fields will kill all field insects which will impact on field bird populations.

Whilst my concern is for the potential impact from Fron Bella farm on the Conwy I suspect that the same will apply to all poultry farms in river valleys. Can you please advise the policy from NRW/WG with respect to disposal of this contaminated water as it is included within protocol see page 5 item 3 Scope first bullet point.

Regards

Chris White

Conservation officer: Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries (CPWF)

NRW Newsletter Spring 2020

The link to the Newsletter, which gives details of NRW’s fishery related works, is located under the Newsletter Tab

The Minister agrees her team to meet John and Chris: congratulations on persistence chaps and good luck

Lesley Griffiths AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

Eich cyf/Your ref

Ein cyf/Our ref LG/7611/19 Chris White

Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government

chriswhite.cohite@gmail.com

Ni                          January 2020

Thank you for your letters of 10 and 13 December, regarding your ongoing concerns about my decision to approve the All Wales byelaws (AWB) and my recent decision to delay the proposed introduction of regulatory measures to address agricultural pollution pending further consideration.

Whilst I understand you are not happy with the recommendations of the Local Inquiry and my resulting decision to confirm the AWB, I am content these byelaws were carefully scrutinised as part of the impartial Local Inquiry process and all parties were given the chance to put forward their views. The inspector’s recommendation report confirmed the Natural Resources Wales’ byelaw proposals were necessary, proportionate and reasonable in view of the decline of salmon and sea trout stocks throughout Wales and alternative voluntary measures would not be suitable.

I’ve taken the decision to delay the proposed introduction of regulatory measures to address agricultural pollution, to enable me to consider all the evidence provided by the Farming Unions and wider stakeholders before I take a final decision. However, this is not a valid reason to defer the AWB coming into force, as all additional fish returned alive under the new compulsory regulations, will help contribute to the recovery of salmon and sea trout stocks. The AWB for salmon and sea trout will come into force on 1 January 2020.

As you know, I have also asked NRW to put together a Plan of Action (PoA) for salmon and sea trout. The PoA aims to set out all the current work being carried out by various parties to combat the issues impacting upon our fish stocks, as well as identify any gaps and new actions. Reversing the decline of salmon and sea trout stocks will be a challenge and the PoA will only be successful if everyone with an interest in salmon and sea trout contributes. Therefore, I am glad you are working closely with NRW as part of the Wales Fisheries Forum, to try and help reverse the decline in stocks.

I am aware Fish Eating Birds, ‘in river’ loss of smolts and Enforcement were all issues raised in the inquiry and therefore anticipate these issues will be addressed in the plan. With

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Gohebiaeth.Lesley . Griffi ths@ll yw.cymru Corresp ondence.Lesley .Gri ff it hs@gov. wales

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We welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh.  Any correspondence received in  Welsh will be answered in  Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

regard to Enforcement I will discuss the meeting which took place in Bala with Ms Pillman and consider any points which were raised.

In the meantime, I understand there has been further exchanges with NRW about the methodology used for assessing stock levels and I can confirm they will be responding on this matter in due course.

I have recently been in contact with your associate Mr Eardley and offered him the opportunity to meet my officials to discuss any further concerns about restoring salmon and sea trout stocks. I would like to extend this invitation to you and ask if you would like to accompany Mr Eardley to meet with my officials to discuss your concerns about both agricultural regulations and salmonid fish. If you would like to take up this offer please contact:

Julian Bray, Head of Domestic Fisheries Policy and Management 03000 625605 I Julian.Bray2@gov.wales

Subject:River stock management improvements & Prof Revell research study of Severn/Dee rod catch. Thanks to Mike Ashwin

From: Mike Ashwin
Sent: 02 January 2020 15:07
To: Stone, Heidi <heidi.stone@environment-agency.gov.uk>; Talks, Lawrence <lawrence.talks@environment-agency.gov.uk>; simon toms <simon.toms@environment-agency.gov.uk>; brian shields <brian.shields@environment-agency.gov.uk>; Bainger, Chris <chris.bainger@environment-agency.gov.uk>; Gough, Peter <Peter.Gough@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk>; Mee, David <David.Mee@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk>; Davidson, Ian <Ian.Davidson@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk>
Cc:alan.walker@cefas.co.uk <alan.walker@cefas.co.uk>
 ​Dear colleagues,

This communication is circulated to lead EA & NRW managers/advisers and will be forwarded to EFG & WFF representatives involved in ongoing Byelaw/Stock management dialogue, authors of key elements of River stock reporting methodology and rod fisheries groups.   It expresses the direction of engagement and collaboration rod fisheries have been seeking in shared areas of improved salmon stock management, and our ongoing actions to secure this. It is sent for reasons that usual channels of communication have become truncated and locked during Byelaw and system review process. 

A small group of rod fisheries individuals has been engaged in developing and communicating these improvements:

1.   In the first instance, forming and making recommendations to Defra & Welsh Cabinet Ministers in letters of 9th April & 17th Sept 2018 presented by Mark Lloyd of the AT on behalf of NWATFCC & CPWF. Those recommendations being part of  E & W National Byelaw “processes” and set out specific rod fisheries requests that :

  •  a national rod exploitation rate review take place to report on seasonal factors influencing rod catch and river spawning estimates and incorporate as annual revising river estimates for assessment purposes.
  •  for improvements to angler rod catch reporting systems & River stock reporting procedures.
  • for validation and periodic QA review of the  of the River Classification system 
  • steps are taken to “re-introduce” a harmonised E & W stock reporting, classification, decision structure process.
  •  that interim (three year) E & W voluntary rod C & R measures are agreed and introduced to enable these review/improvement processes to be concluded and steer delivery of common Byelaw proposals. In hindsight adoption of this would have forestalled the contested positions we now find ourselves defending.  

2.   In communicating the reasons for improvements and recommendations by NWATFCC & CPWF to current system procedures as part of submissions to the drafting of the NASCO 2019 – 24 Implementation Plan. If EFG & WFF representatives are not aware of these, then I recommend those are made available.The recommendations set out fundamental change to outdated SAP and CL annual estimates, calculation of annual estimates to incorporate seasonal factors in rod catch, current River status methodology and decision processes. And a much longer term vision to harmonising and creating a common UK mainland conservation policy (England, Wales & Scotland). These involve extracting elements of our reporting and assessment procedures that were introduced in 2004 without validation or periodic QA review. And adoption of a Scottish style annual assessment review and river status/rod exploitation measure approach based on five year average or mean attainment to CL target.

3.    New analytical and modelling techniques have been explored and developed for determining rod catch and run size estimates and the influence of principal factors that are presently contributing to inaccurate and uncertain River status “predictions or forecasts”.  Emeritus Professor Brian Revell has lead that work and NW & Welsh rod fisheries have received papers on regional and individual River analysis of rod catch and simulations of changes to rod effort, river flows & cyclical patterns of 1SW/MSW. Brian`s work history is listed on page 3. The study explores two rivers, the Severn & Welsh Dee that are the subject of separate dialogue taking place with the EA & NRW that I am directing on behalf of PAAS & CPWF. The study provides a refreshing examination and in depth reasoned academic interpretation of factors effecting changing rod catch and ultimately run estimates. Something that has been missing in recent Byelaw consultation exchanges.   The same analytical and modelling principles (given data source) could be applied to historic and predicted catch and run size estimates from threats and pressures that appear to fall below the radar as far as actually assessing stock impact.These might include rising ocean temperature, food source depletion, pelagic trawler impact, damage from aquaculture expansion and ingress from predation populations.

4.    A new proposed format of accessible on-line River reporting data. This is currently being circulated to rod fisheries groups for consideration and comment. We would like to bring this forward as part of improvements to provide transparent and informed stock assessment data which will enable fisheries managers and national advisers to better track changes to applied estimates and rod catch/spawning assessments and trends.

 A considerable amount of time has been spent in the last 12 -18 months in non productive exchanges as  rod fisheries representatives sought acknowledgement of the need for improvement to systems and accuracy of historic assessments. 

 We would welcome a more progressive period of engagement and collaboration on systems and policy development, where our recommendations and research can and should be complimenting proposed review process and within communicated timetables. I have recommended to the Angling Trust that a small rod fisheries group is formed to present and review proposals.

This communication is for information purposes, unless further clarification or confirmation of progress is appropriate.

With best regards,  Mike Ashwin
Chairman NWATFCC  North West Angling Trust Fisheries Consultative Council  

  • NOTE from the editor. If you would like a copy of the report please email 1highplains@gmail.com and I will send you a .pdf

Chris White to Minister

President

Allan Cuthbert Email: 1highplains@gmail.com

Strategy Officer

John Eardley Email: johneardley@btinternet.com

Conservation Officer

Chris White

57 Normanby Drive Connahs Quay Flintshire

CH5 4JX

Email:chriswhite.cohite@gmail.com

Re: Written Statement: Agricultural Pollution Regulations

Dear Minister,

12 December 2019

I wrote to you on 10 December concerning the effect of the proposed fisheries byelaws on rural communities. I was alarmed to see that on 11 December you  issued a written statement with respect to Agricultural Pollution Regulations in which you say that in working with NFU Cymru to develop a water framework that this work “…has highlighted it may be possible to offer a more flexible approach based on earned autonomy to deliver the same outcomes compared to regulation”. I take it  that ‘earned autonomy’ means self regulation. This approach  is contrary to that  taken with respect to the proposed fisheries byelaws where alternative solutions offered during consultation were dismissed with NRW insisting that only legislation would achieve the desired result – it won’t.

It should also be noted that at the inquiry, under oath, we were promised Agricultural Pollution Regulations which would prevent the frequent pollution events we see on Welsh rivers and fish kills which far exceed any damage to fish stocks caused by angling. The inspector for the inquiry referred to this promise in his findings.

In line with your concession on agricultural pollution we would therefore request a deferment of the proposed byelaws to enable those few Welsh rivers which are not compliant with the NASCO recommendation of a voluntary 90% C&R to achieve this target i.e. “…earned autonomy to deliver the same outcome…”. Overall Welsh anglers achieve 86% C&R with many rivers meeting or exceeding the NASCO 90% release rate through voluntary measures. We have continually drawn your attention to the major reason for the decline in migratory fish stocks and this is not due to angling. Perhaps you can extend the courtesy of meeting with us so you may fully understand our concerns something which you seem to have done with NFU Cymru.

Regards

On behalf of: Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries cc Mark Drakeford – First Minister

CPWF has the support of freshwater and sea anglers in Wales.

Visit our website at www.cpwf.co.uk

John Eardley persists: Thanks John

President

Allan Cuthbert Email: 1highplains@gmail.coo.uk

Strategy Officer

John Eardley

c/o Vanner Farm & Caravan Site Llanelltyd

Dolgellau Gwynedd LL40 2HE

Email: johneardley@btinternet.com

Conservation Officer

Chris White Email:chriswhite.cohite@gmail.com

9th December 2019

Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM National Assembly for Wales Cardiff Bay

Cardiff CF99 1NA

By email to: Dafydd.Elis-Thomas@assembly.wales

Copies to:

Charlie Abbott – Riparian Owner, Garreg Arw, Afon Mawddach

Hywel Bromley Davenport – Riparian Owner,

Bryncemlyn & Gelligemlyn, Afon Mawddach

Meirion Hughes – Riparian Owner, Felin Newydd, Afon Wnion

Gavin Jones – Secretary, Dolgellau Angling Association

Andy Strickland – Secretary, Prince Albert Angling Society

Dear Dafydd,

I was proud to represent the majority of the angling interests on the Afon Mawddach & Afon Wnion at the All Wales Fishing Byelaws Inquiry held in January and March of this year and am writing to you on behalf of those same angling stakeholders today.

Key evidence presented by the Objectors at the Inquiry was ignored by the Inspector and this led to his report finding in favour of Natural Resources Wales and as a result the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs made a decision to confirm the Byelaws which are due to come into force on 1st January 2020.

Last week I attended a joint meeting of the Dee & Gwynedd Local Fisheries Advisory Groups at Yr Hwb, Bala at which Clare Pillman, CEO of Natural Resources Wales, was also present.

The meeting brought into sharp focus the reality of the situation that we are now facing. The enforcement officer responsible for North West Wales reported that the current situation is a disaster with most of his team gone. Goodwill has been lost and experienced staff who have left have taken their expert knowledge with them. He stated that he had never known anything like this with 45% of the reported incidents in Wales since July being from North West Wales and only 2 staff available to cover the whole area. He made a desperate plea to those present for help. Unfortunately attendance at these meetings has been dwindling for some time with many representatives feeling disenfranchised when their legitimate concerns

CPWF has the support of freshwater and sea anglers in Wales.

Visit our website at www.cpwf.co.uk

are dismissed by senior fisheries staff. As a result there was nobody present from nearby rivers including the Dyfi, Dwyfawr and Glaslyn to hear his plea whilst many of those who were present have become so disaffected that they will not go out of their way to help.

The chair of the Dee Fisheries Association reported that poachers are netting the Dee estuary with impunity now that NRW are unable to carry out boat patrols. We have the utmost respect for NRW’s hardworking Enforcement Officers but they simply cannot cope in the current climate.

Given that NRW’s figures demonstrate that a maximum of 2 salmon in every hundred in Wales (10 out of 500 in the case of the Mawddach & Wnion) is the somewhat paltry number that will be saved by the All Wales Byelaws we are now facing a disaster since fewer anglers means less of a deterrent, less intelligence for enforcement officers, increased poaching and the loss of considerably more spawning salmon than is currently the case. In short the Byelaws are counterproductive. Today NRW are in receipt of documents which pose a serious challenge to the salmon stock assessments used to inform the All Wales, Cross Border Dee & Wye and Severn Emergency Byelaws and which indicate that stocks are being considerably underestimated by the current methodology.

It was also reported at the meeting that the Wales Fisheries Forum and its associated Plan of Action for salmon and sea trout will do nothing to restore our stocks of migratory fish. Those of us who are in opposition to the byelaws are working as conservationists looking to protect our fisheries, and assist in restoring the stocks of salmon and sea trout in our rivers.

NRW has previously informed us that those anglers who release all of the fish they catch “will note little difference under the new regime”. This is not true. A significant number of anglers, local and visiting alike, no longer fish when Mandatory Catch & Release is introduced and as a result clubs lose both members and revenue. As a result they can no longer afford to rent some of their waters and those who wish to continue fishing “under the new regime” are denied access. The very future of smaller community based angling clubs, together with the angling tourism that they support, is very much under threat.

We are at crisis point and failure to take a step back and assess fully the current situation will see Welsh Government preside over an unmitigated disaster for our stocks of migratory fish and the fisheries which they support. We seek your support in achieving that aim.

Should you require further supportive evidence, or wish to discuss the matter further, please do not hesitate to get in touch by either email or telephone.

Yours sincerely

John Eardley

Gwynedd Local Fisheries Advisory Group Representative, Prince Albert Angling Society Strategy Officer, Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Chris White to the Minister: again!

President

Allan Cuthbert Email: 1highplains@gmail.com

Strategy Officer

John Eardley: Email: johneardley@btinternet.com

Conservation Officer

Chris White Email:chriswhite.cohite@gmail.com

10 December 2019

Re: THE WALES ROD AND LINE (SALMON AND SEA TROUT) BYELAWS 2017 Inquiry

Dear Minister,

At the recent joint (Dee/Gwynedd) Local Fisheries Advisory Group meeting held in Bala the Chief Executive of NRW (Ms Pillman) attended to answer questions on how NRW can carryout their statutory duties with respect to fisheries and how the impending byelaws will reverse the decline in migratory fish stocks. The first agenda item for the meeting was an update on enforcement activity. The enforcement officer responsible for North West Wales reported that the current situation with respect to enforcement is a disaster with most of his team gone. With 45% of the reported fisheries incidents in Wales since July being from North West Wales and only 2 staff available to cover the whole area, he made a desperate plea to those present for help, sadly co-operation from anglers is unlikely to occur due to the byelaws effectively stopping fishing on many North Wales rivers.

I note in the Labour manifesto that should they be elected in England Labour intends to: “Introduce a ‘rural proofing’ process so that all our laws, policies and programmes consider their impact on rural communities” and yet the Labour Government in Wales has ignored the impact that the fisheries byelaws will have on rural communities and intend to implement legislation which is effectively un-enforceable and will do nothing to reverse the decline in migratory fish stocks.

In my previous correspondence I referred to the inquiry which accused objectors of not presenting any evidence. The problem was the inspector failed to understand the evidence we presented i.e. there are enough salmon and sea trout spawning it is the in-river losses due to pollution and predation which are the main issues (50% of smolts never get to sea). With respect to the challenge on the statistical  methodology used by EA/CEFAS/NRW to determine conservation limits the inspector, at the insistence of the NRW barrister, refused to admit this as evidence and completely ignored this in his findings.

Over the past few months the North West Angling Trust Fisheries Consultative Council with the assistance of Prof Brian Revel has been carrying out further analysis of the methodology used by the EA/CEFAS/NRW in assessing the river stock levels and the findings have now been presented to NRW and the other agencies to demonstrate the flaws in their statistical analysis and how the data has been skewed

CPWF has the support of freshwater and sea anglers in Wales.

Visit our website at www.cpwf.co.uk

by ignoring certain variables i.e. drought/flood, reduction in the number of anglers fishing etc. We can provide copies of the relevant documents should you so wish.

Since the salmon season closed anglers have been reporting salmon ascending the Dee/Conwy in large numbers, there is no exploitation of these fish and they are therefore not included in the calculation of conservation limits. Photographs of these fish ascending barriers are available if required.

It is unclear how your instruction to NRW to produce a ‘Plan of Action for salmon and sea trout’ will help in reversing the decline in migratory fish stocks. We have had various ‘Salmon Action Plans’ over the past 20 years none of which has reversed the decline. The key feature from most LFG workshops for input into the Plan of Action identified fish eating birds (FEB’s-mainly goosander) as a major contributor to the decline in fish stocks on Welsh rivers. To put this into perspective according to the NRW FEB forum there are 305 pairs of nesting goosanders in Wales (610 goosanders). Each of these birds consumes 400gm of fish per day and assuming they are resident all year these birds will consume circa 90 Tonne of fish per year. In addition there are an estimated 5,394 overwintering goosanders in Wales all consuming fish. It should not come as surprise therefore that fish numbers in Wales are in decline – goosanders used to be rare but have now established themselves in the UK, they are not a native bird but since the 1950’s have become ‘naturalised’. It  is interesting to note that according to the Wetland Bird survey goosanders are in decline probably as they have eaten all the available fish!

I would yet again request a meeting with you to discuss this issue, I accept that this is low on your agenda and you have to take advice from your advisors but your electorate deserve a chance of putting their case to you, at least Ms Pillman faced her stakeholders and listened to our concerns. We are all working to reverse the decline in migratory fish stocks, this is about conservation and not more fish for anglers to catch; the byelaws will simply drive a wedge between anglers and NRW and is unlikely to reverse the decline. After 25 years of restrictions on the Wye and millions of pounds spent on restoration/barrier removal there has been no noticeable improvement in migratory fish stocks, the 2019 salmon catches on the Wye are the lowest in recorded history with only 344 reported salmon caught by anglers.

As Prof Lynda Warren said at the 2015 NRW Board meeting held at Clawdd-Newydd extending restrictions which have been demonstrated not to work is futile and yet this is the route being taken by NRW. Anglers are not the problem; we are just being used as a scapegoat to detract from the failure of agencies to address the root causes.

Regards

Chris White

Conservation Officer: Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

cc Mark Drakeford – First Minister

Back from the Minister 20 November 2019

Lesley Griffiths AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

Ein cyf/Our ref LG/07443/19

Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government

John Eardley johneardley@btinternet.com

%r Hrfiudl          c)o November2019

Thank you for your letter of 13 November,           garding my previous response to you under LG/07251/19. I apologise the attachrne.i:it{cited was not provided. It is now attached for you to consider alongside my answers to your original questions.

I note you have raised a further question in your most recent letter on my previous decision to decline invitations to meet and discuss the All Wales byelaws. During the course of the Inquiry I declined all meeting requests on this matter to ensure no bias was provided to any particular individual or group ahead of the final report.

I hope moving forward the joint work to develop the Plan of Action will contribute to restoring the relationship between Natural Resources Wales and stakeholders. My officials will also be contributing to these efforts and will keep me informed on future developments.

lour0 0    Lf\ Gl  1-LLLj

Lesley Gri iths AC/AM

Gweinidog       Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materidq g,wledig Minister for En· errt, Energy and Rural Affairs

Bae Caerdydd • Cardiff Bay

Caerdydd  • Cardiff

CF99 1NA

Canolfan Cyswllt Cyntaf / First Point of Contact Centre:

0300 0604400

Gohebiaeth. Lesley.Griffi ths @ll yw. cymru Correspondence.Lesley.Griffi   ths @gov.wales

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We welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh.  Any correspondence received in Welsh will beanswered in  Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

Back to the Minister. Thanks John Eardley

13th November 2019

Lesley Griffiths AM – Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

By email to Correspondence.Lesley.Griffiths@gov.wales (for the personal attention of the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs)

Dear Minister,

Thank you for your letter Ref: LG/07251/19 dated 28th October. Whilst further dialogue seems somewhat futile there are nevertheless certain points which require a response.

  • You make the point that:

“NASCO guidance states (document also attached):

‘The decision as to whether, and if so where and when, catch and release is appropriate, should be made by those managing the specific fishery concerned in the light of all the known factors about that particular stock.

The publication of these guidelines and their adoption by NASCO does not imply that NASCO endorses catch and release in any particular circumstances.’”

Since there was no document attached to your letter we remain in the dark regarding the source of this statement, particularly as it is conspicuous by its absence within the key document CNL(14)71 NASCO Implementation Plan for the period 2013-18 EU – UK (England and Wales).

  • For those rivers in Wales with a mean catch of less than 20 salmon it is difficult to see how you can be “content (that) the All Wales Byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by NASCO” when, as we have previously pointed out, NASCO states that voluntary and not mandatory measures should be promoted on those rivers.
  • In your response to our request for deferment of the All Wales Byelaws for a year, in order to allow for the promotion of voluntary measures you make reference to your “discussions with many officials and stakeholders” and yet every reasonable request that has been made by angling stakeholders for a face to face meeting with yourself in order to fully explain our concerns has been met with point blank refusal.
  • Your statement “Most local angling clubs are already operating with a high rate of voluntary catch and release measures. Therefore, only a small percentage of anglers might be deterred from visiting and participating in angling, when the new Byelaws come into force” fails to recognise the different response by anglers to voluntary and mandatory measures. We reiterate our original statement: “A significant number of anglers, local and visiting alike, no longer fish when Mandatory Catch & Release is introduced and as a result clubs lose both members and revenue. As a result they can no longer afford to rent some of their waters and those who wish to continue fishing are denied access. Local angling clubs do not “thrive” in those circumstances and their future existence very much hangs in the balance”
  • With reference to the Dee and Conwy it is again difficult to see how you can be “content (that) the All Wales Byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by NASCO” when both

rivers are fully compliant with NASCO Policy in meeting their voluntary targets and yet you seek to impose mandatory measures and in so doing further alienate angling stakeholders.

  • You also make reference to the fact that “NRW have adequately recognised the benefits of voluntary catch and release measures and they have engaged appropriately with stakeholders in promoting these over the past 5 years, as an attempt to bring in a voluntary solution” and yet at the NRW Board Meeting on 18th January 2018 there was clear recognition by both the board and executive that they had “failed to engage properly with stakeholders” in developing the All Wales Byelaws.

Since July 2015 there has been a constant refusal by NRW to even begin to discuss the options for a voluntary solution and we are now met with further intransigence from Welsh Government. The leader of the UK Labour Party spoke last week of a “government that’s on your side “and “real politics is about ‘bringing people together to stand up for their community’”. In the context of the All Wales Byelaws those words have a very hollow ring to most of us in the angling community.

John Eardley – Strategy Officer, Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Dr Robin Parry – Chair, Gwynedd Local Fisheries Advisory Group

Mervyn Williams – Chair, Dee Local Fisheries Advisory Group

On behalf of:

Bangor on Dee Salmon Angling Association Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries Capenhurst Angling Club

Chirk Syndicate

Clwyd Federation of Angling Clubs

Corwen and District Angling Club

Dee Fisheries Association

Dolgellau Angling Association

Dolwyddelan Angling Association

Llanbrynmair Angling Association

Llangollen Maelor Angling

Llyn Guides

New Dovey Fishery Association (1929) Ltd

Ogwen Valley Angling Association

Penrhyn Fishing Club

Prince Albert Angling Society

Rhagatt Estate

Rhyl & St. Asaph Angling Association

Rossett and Gresford Fly Fishers

Seiont Gwyrfai & Llyfni Fishing Society

Vale of Clwyd Angling Club

Wirral Game Fishing Club

And the Minister says?

Lesley Griffiths AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

Ein cyf/Our ref LG/07251/19

Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government

John Eardley, Dr Robin Parry, Mervyn Williams

johneardley@btinternet.com

28 October 2019

Thank you for your letter of 18 October, regarding my response to you under LG/06996/19, to your concerns about my decision to approve Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) ‘All Wales’ Rod and Line (salmon and sea trout) byelaws. I will address the points raised in your letter in the same numbered order.

  1. NASCO guidance states (document also attached):

‘The decision as to whether, and if so where and when, catch and release is appropriate, should be made by those managing the specific fishery concerned in the light of all the known factors about that particular stock.

The publication of these guidelines and their adoption by NASCO does not imply that NASCO endorses catch and release in any particular circumstances.’

The lines above confirm NASCO do not endorse catch and release measures in particular circumstances but the decision on whether to introduce such measures resides with those specifically managing the fishery. The authority with the power to make this decision in Wales, is NRW. On this basis, I am content NRW as the manager of the specific fisheries for Wales, are therefore not breaching or contravening NASCO policy.

As previously explained, NRW have promoted voluntary catch and release measures since 2014 and although there has been a commendable improvement in the number of fish released by anglers across Wales, the target levels required to give salmon and sea trout the best chance of recovery have not been met. I have therefore confirmed the All Wales byelaw proposals put forward by NRW to make it a mandatory measure to practice catch and release and these byelaws will come into force from 1 January 2020.

Bae Caerdydd  •  Cardiff Bay

Caerdydd  • Cardiff

CF99 1NA

Canolfan Cyswllt Cyntaf I First Point of Contact Centre:

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Gohebiaeth .Lesle y.Grif fit hs@ll yw.cymru Correspondence.Lesley.Griffiths@gov.wales

Rydym yn croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

We welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will notlead to a delay in responding.

  • I acknowledge your request for all rivers in Wales with a mean catch of less than 20 salmon, to be excluded from the All Wales Byelaws. However, I am content the All Wales Byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by NASCO and voluntary catch and release efforts have already been promoted across rivers within Wales (as per my response under point 1). These rivers shall therefore remain under the All Wales Byelaw regulations.
  • My position on a deferment of the All Wales Byelaws for a year, in order to allow for the promotion of voluntary measures, remains the same. I have reviewed both the Inspector’s recommendation report following the inquiry and the recently published stock assessments and from discussions with many officials and stakeholders, I believe such these measures are necessary in response to a wide scale decline in fish stocks for both salmon and sea trout.

Most local angling clubs are already operating with a high rate of voluntary catch and release measures. Therefore, only a small percentage of anglers might be deterred from visiting and participating in angling, when the new Byelaws come into force.

NRW’s byelaw proposals sit outside the requirements to provide compensation under section 212 of the Water Resources Act 1991 and this was addressed within their evidence submitted to the inquiry, under document APP49. If owners or occupiers believe they are injuriously affected by the Byelaws once they’ve come into force, then under the Water Resources Act 1991, compensation may be sought.

With regards to your last bullet under point 3 relating to the rivers Dee and Conwy, I am of the same opinion for those rivers, as my answer provided in point 2 above.

Finally, I believe NRW have adequately recognised the benefits of voluntary catch and release measures and they have engaged appropriately with stakeholders in promoting these over the past 5 years, as an attempt to bring in a voluntary solution. Unfortunately, at present, voluntary measures alone are not enough to reverse the decline in salmon and sea trout.

I hope you and all anglers will take the opportunity to contribute to the Salmon and Sea Trout Plan of Action, ahead of the byelaws coming into force on 1 January 2020. The purpose of the Plan of Action is to set out all the current work being taken forward to restore salmon and sea trout stocks and, in addition, to identify any new issues or gaps and the actions needed to address them.

U1

Lesley  Griffiths AC/AM

Gweinid  g yr Amgylcheqd’ , Ynni a Mat  rion Minister fM                        nvironmerfl, Energy and Rbi:avn

Back to the Minister

18th October 2019

Lesley Griffiths AM – Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

By email to Correspondence.Lesley.Griffiths@gov.wales (for the personal attention of the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs)

Dear Minister,

Thank you for your letter Ref: LG/06996/19 dated 15th October. In our original letter dated 27th September we highlighted 3 key issues:

1.               Confirmation of the The Cross-Border Rivers Rod and Line (Salmon and Sea Trout) (Wales) Byelaws 2019 would be a clear contravention of NASCO policy.

  • The confirmation of the All Wales Byelaws for introduction on 1st January 2020 for all rivers in Wales which have a mean catch of less than 20 salmon is a clear contravention of NASCO policy
  • We make a formal request that the introduction of the All Wales Byelaws is deferred until such time as voluntary C&R has been promoted for 1 year as set out in the NASCO Decision Making Structure.

On the first of these issues your reply does not make any reference to the Cross-Border Rivers Rod and Line (Salmon and Sea Trout) (Wales) Byelaws 2019. Our original letter quoted the following text from NRW’s “Know Your River” document:

The release rate in 2017 was 91%. This is an excellent result and needs to be maintained”

In fact the recently released 2018 figures show that the voluntary return rate on the Dee has risen yet again to 94%. We must therefore emphasise the point that if you were to approve NRW’s request for new Cross Border Byelaws for the Dee that would be a clear contravention of NASCO policy and would further exacerbate the alienation of angling stakeholders.

On the second issue your letter makes no reference to our formal request that all rivers in Wales with a mean catch of less than 20 salmon are excluded from the All Wales Byelaws. You state that you “are content these byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation” yet NASCO policy is quite clear in pointing out that on these rivers “voluntary measures will be promoted”. There should be no follow up measure of considering “Mandatory C&R” or “Closure of the Fishery” and therefore this aspect of the All Wales Byelaws is not consistent with the principles and guidance developed by NASCO.

On the third issue you make it very clear that “deferment is not an option I am willing to consider”. You support your decision with a number of points which cannot go unchallenged:

  • “salmon and sea trout stocks are declining in Wales

As we pointed out in our original letter there is considerable variation in stocks of both salmon and sea trout across Wales. The picture is not one of universal decline.

  • “I see this as a clear sign local angling clubs will continue to thrive and adapt if this ethos is passed on to new members”.

This is not true. A significant number of anglers, local and visiting alike, no longer fish when Mandatory Catch & Release is introduced and as a result clubs lose both members and revenue. As a result they can no longer afford to rent some of their waters and those who wish to continue fishing are denied access. Local angling clubs do not “thrive” in those circumstances and their future existence very much hangs in the balance. This is further exacerbated by ill-informed method restrictions which make lengthy stretches of many North Wales spate rivers effectively unfishable. Whilst we have been given legal advice that under the terms of the Water Resources Act 1991 compensation may be sought when “the owner or occupier of any fishery by notice to the [appropriate agency] claims that the fishery is injuriously affected by a byelaw”, that is of little comfort when our waters are no longer fishable.

  • “NRW have been promoting voluntary catch and release measures since 2014. Although there has been a commendable improvement in the number of fish released by anglers across Wales, the target levels required to give salmon and sea trout the best chance of recovery have not been met.” Analysis of the recently released “Salmonid and Freshwater Fisheries Statistics for England and Wales, 2018”, produced jointly by NRW & EA, reveals that the voluntary release rate has risen yet again and now stands at 88% across Wales. Furthermore 100% of the salmon were voluntarily released on 8 of the 20 principal salmon rivers which are currently subject to voluntary measures. In addition a further 2 of those rivers, Dee (94%) and Conwy (91%), are fully compliant with NASCO Policy. On all of these rivers targets are being met and voluntary measures should continue.

There has been a clear failure on the part of NRW to recognise that a voluntary solution is a realistic and sustainable solution to any threat to our salmon stocks. That option has never been discussed in any meaningful way and is conspicuous by its absence in any of the board papers leading to the byelaws decision. Until that is recognised and properly addressed there can be little prospect of the collaborative solution which our rivers so richly deserve.

Yours sincerely

John Eardley – Strategy Officer, Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Dr Robin Parry – Chair, Gwynedd Local Fisheries Advisory Group

Mervyn Williams – Chair, Dee Local Fisheries Advisory Group

On behalf of:

Bangor on Dee Salmon Angling Association Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Capenhurst Angling Club Chirk Syndicate

Clwyd Federation of Angling Clubs Corwen and District Angling Club Dee Fisheries Association Dolgellau Angling Association Dolwyddelan Angling Association Llanbrynmair Angling Association Llangollen Maelor Angling

Llyn Guides

New Dovey Fishery Association (1929) Ltd

Ogwen Valley Angling Association

Penrhyn Fishing Club

Prince Albert Angling Society

Rhagatt Estate

Rhyl & St. Asaph Angling Association

Rossett and Gresford Fly Fishers

Seiont Gwyrfai & Llyfni Fishing Society

Vale of Clwyd Angling Club

Wirral Game Fishing Club

The Minister replies.

Lesley Griffiths AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

Ein cyf/Our ref LG/06996/19 John Eardley johneardley@btinternet.com

Llywodraeth Cymru Welsh Government

t5 October 2019

Thank you for your letter of 27 Septem          r, regarding North Wales angling representative’s concerns about my decision to approve Natural Resources Wales’ (NRW) ‘All Wales’ Rod and Line (salmon and sea trout) byelaws.

In common with other parts of the UK and Europe, salmon and sea trout stocks are declining in Wales. To avoid stocks falling to unsafe levels, which may lead to stock collapse, we must take action now.

The majority of anglers in Wales (86%) already voluntarily return the salmon they catch and this number is increasing which is very encouraging . This demonstrates the care and respect anglers show for salmon and their wish to protect them for the future. I see this as a clear sign local angling clubs will continue to thrive and adapt if this ethos is passed on to new members.

I understand some anglers were disappointed by my decision to approve the byelaws, but please be assured it was not taken lightly. I would encourage you and all anglers to take the opportunity to contribute to the Salmon and Sea Trout Plan of Action which I have tasked NRW to produce together with stakeholders ahead of the byelaws coming into force on 1 January 2020.

I note your request for the introduction of the byelaws to be deferred by a year. NRW have been promoting voluntary catch and release measures since 2014. Although there has been a commendable improvement in the number of fish released by anglers across Wales, the target levels required to give salmon and sea trout the best chance of recovery have not been met. As a result, a deferment is not an option I am willing to consider.

Bae Caerdydd  •  Cardiff Bay

Caerdydd • Cardiff

CF99 1NA

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Gohebiaeth .Lesley. Griffi ths @ll yw.cymru Corresp ondence.Lesley. Gri ffi ths @gov.wales

Rydym yn croesawu derbyn gohebiaeth yn Gymraeg. Byddwn yn ateb gohebiaeth a dderbynnir yn Gymraeg yn Gymraeg ac ni fydd gohebu yn Gymraeg yn arwain at oedi.

We welcome receiving correspondence in Welsh. Any correspondence received in Welsh will be answered in  Welsh and corresponding in Welsh will not lead to a delay in responding.

I am content these byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) and follow a precautionary approach in response to the poor status of stocks in Wales. At a time when every fish is important, the byelaws will provide clear, enforceable measures to protect salmon and sea trout whilst at the same time allowing angling continue.

Lesley Griffiths AC/AM

Gweinidog yr Amgylchedd, Ynni a Materion Gwledig Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

Dear Ms Pillman,

12th October 2019

Clare Pillman – Chief Executive, Natural Resources Wales By email to Clare.Pillman@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk

Dear Ms Pillman,

Thank you for your letter Ref: CX19-187 dated 8th October. Whilst your response makes further correspondence seem rather futile there are nevertheless certain points that cannot go unchallenged.

There has been a clear failure on the part of NRW to recognise that a voluntary solution is a realistic and sustainable solution to any threat to our salmon stocks. That option has never been discussed in any meaningful way and is conspicuous by its absence in any of the board papers leading to the byelaws decision. You will also be aware from other correspondence that there is considerable variation in stocks of both salmon and sea trout across Wales. The picture is not one of universal decline.

You refer to the “urgency of the situation in which we now find ourselves” yet the reality is that the situation is already being dealt with voluntarily. Analysis of the recently released “Salmonid and Freshwater Fisheries Statistics for England and Wales, 2018”, produced jointly by NRW & EA, reveals that the voluntary release rate has risen yet again and now stands at 88% across Wales. Furthermore 100% of the salmon were voluntarily released on 8 of the 22 principal salmon rivers with a further 2, Dee (94%) and Conwy (91%), being fully compliant with NASCO Policy.

Most significantly you state that those anglers who release all of the fish they catch “will note little difference under the new regime”. This is not true. A significant number of anglers, local and visiting alike, no longer fish when Mandatory Catch & Release is introduced and as a result clubs lose both members and revenue. As a result they can no longer afford to rent some of their waters and those who wish to continue fishing “under the new regime” are denied access. The very future of smaller community based angling clubs is under threat.

Unless the above issues are recognised and addressed there is little prospect of constructive dialogue. Yours sincerely

John Eardley – Strategy Officer, Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Dr Robin Parry – Chair, Gwynedd Local Fisheries Advisory Group

Mervyn Williams – Chair, Dee Local Fisheries Advisory Group

On behalf of:

Bangor on Dee Salmon Angling Association

Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Capenhurst Angling Club

Chirk Syndicate

Clwyd Federation of Angling Clubs

Corwen and District Angling Club

Dee Fisheries Association

Dolgellau Angling Association

Dolwyddelan Angling Association

Llanbrynmair Angling Association

Llangollen Maelor Angling

Llyn Guides

New Dovey Fishery Association (1929) Ltd

Ogwen Valley Angling Association

Penrhyn Fishing Club

Prince Albert Angling Society

Rhagatt Estate

Rhyl & St. Asaph Angling Association

Rossett and Gresford Fly Fishers

Seiont Gwyrfai & Llyfni Fishing Society

Vale of Clwyd Angling Club

Wirral Game Fishing Club

A note from our Conservation Officer

All,

I have just received the NRW Board paper on FEB’s, don’t hold your breath on any meaningful action on FEB’s!  There is no acknowledgement that goosanders were not a native British bird and were not recorded on Welsh rivers until the 1970’s.  Whilst goosander did overwinter on the East Coast of Scotland they are now present on all UK rivers as overwintered birds stayed on Scottish rivers and started to breed.  Looking at the numbers in the report with 1300 pairs of overwinter birds (3 months?) assuming they eat 400gm of fish per day then in 3 months between them they would potentially consume circa 1 Tonne of fish much of which in Wales will be made up of salmonids.  Feel free to circulate to your members.

Chris

REPLY FROM CLARE PILLMAN

Ein cyf/Our ref: CX19-187 Your Ref:

Ty Cambria / Cambria House

29 Heol Casnewydd / 29 Newport Road Caerdydd / Cardiff

CF24 0TP / CF24 0TP

Ebost/Email: Chiefexecutivesoffice@cyfoethnaturiolcymru.gov.uk Chiefexecutivesoffice@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

John Eardley

c/o Vanner Farm & Caravan Site Llanelltyd

Dolgellau Gwynedd LL40 2HE

E-mail: johneardley@btinternet.com

08 October 2019 Dear Mr Eardley,

Re. Your correspondence of 27th September 2019

Ffôn/Phone: 0300 065 4453

Thank you for your letter of 27th September, received by e-mail. I am aware that you have corresponded with NRW and the Minister on the same subject on several occasions recently. In responding I am not repeating our responses to the matters that you have already brought to my attention.

It is worth repeating that Wales is facing the most substantial threat yet to the future of our salmon populations, and it appears that the same worrying trend is becoming apparent for sea trout. I note the same appears to be true in many other countries. You express your concern that the management response in Wales appears harsher than that elsewhere in the British Isles, however I understand that Ireland has elected to close rivers to fishing and that statutory C&R fishing applies in many rivers in Scotland and England. The more flexible approach in Scotland and Ireland to which you refer is known to us and, as you are aware, is an area that we are exploring with the Environment Agency. We are clear however that the measures now confirmed by the Minister are necessary, proportionate and reasonable in view of the salmon and sea trout stocks throughout Wales.

I am genuinely sorry that you see little point in future engagement with NRW on the difficult matters surrounding our salmon and sea trout. This is a formative time and, as you will know, the Minister is ensuring not only that her staff engage fully in the process leading to a plan of action but has also encouraged engagement by all stakeholders.

I welcome the fact that most anglers across Wales release the fish they catch – either voluntarily or following the requirements of existing Byelaws. These anglers will note little

Tŷ Cambria · 29 Heol Casnewydd · Caerdydd · CF24 0TP Cambria House · 29 Newport Road · Cardiff · CF24 0TP

difference under the new regime, however those who have declined to follow the practice will now be required to do so. This will provide certainty for all of what is required. NASCO guidelines that encourage one years’ voluntary C&R prior to any mandatory measures have been complied with, as has their encouragement to adopt their ‘precautionary approach’ to salmon management.

I do not support your request for support of a deferral of the byelaws, because of the urgency of the situation in which we now find ourselves. However, this would be a matter for the Minister.

Finally, I will be at the meeting of the Dee and Clwyd LFG on 4th December, and I hope to be able to welcome you to that event.

Yours sincerely

Clare Pillman

Prif Weithredwr, Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru Chief Executive, Natural Resources Wales