Last update: 8 April

Mink survey

On 18 March 2014 13:46, Field Assistant <field.assistant@welshwildlife.org> wrote:

Hello,

 I’m working for the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, in collaboration with NRW, to try and collect information on where and when American Mink have been seen in Wales. This is so we can have an idea of Mink distribution, which will help us with Water Vole conservation work.

I was wondering if you’d be able to help? If you do have any mink records they would be greatly appreciated, but if not, then perhaps you might consider putting up a little request on your website newsfeed, to request that any of your readers could tell us if they’ve seen a Mink?

Many thanks.

Lorna

Lorna Baggett Field Assistant    The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales

Fountain Road, Tondu, Bridgend, CF32 0EH

Telephone:  01656 724100    Email:  Field.assistant@welshwildlife.org

Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru

The following press release speaks for itself, however anglers are asked to support this campaign in every way. A grateful thanks from us to Rachel and the team!

Thursday 20 March 2014

Sent by the Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru, established by Angling Cymru, Angling Trust, Countryside Alliance, Country Land and Business Association, Fish Legal and the Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association

 

Angling & Countryside Groups Highlight Risk to Angling Businesses from Open Access to Water

The Angling Trust and the Countryside Alliance met with officials from the Welsh Government to highlight the risk to angling businesses from proposals which have been mooted by Welsh Ministers for open access to rivers in Wales.  They took them to the Gliffaes Hotel near Crickhowell where co-owner James Suter explained to them that angling on the River Usk is absolutely vital to the profitability of the hotel, which is a major employer in the area.  He noted that he had never had any revenue from canoeists using the river under the Voluntary Access Agreement that is in place on the upper Usk.

The Angling Trust and Countryside Alliance are members of the Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru (SACC), which represents hundreds of thousands of anglers and land owners in Wales and was co-founded with Angling  Cymru, The Country, Land and Business Association and the Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association back in September 2013.

They stressed at the meeting that they were supportive of Voluntary Access Agreements (VAAs) to increase the number of rivers where canoeing is allowed, but stressed that these must include restrictions to avoid damage to sensitive ecosystems from boats and slashing the capital value of fishing rights, which may be worth as much as £1billion in Wales.  They also pressed the officials to introduce the registration and licensing of all vessels on rivers so that such agreements can be enforced.

A green paper on access to the countryside, due to be published in the autumn of 2013, has been further delayed following a huge volume of correspondence from SACC supporters highlighting the risks of access without locally-agreed restrictions.

Formation of more VAAs throughout Wales and England has been frustrated by the refusal of the canoeing representative organisations to agree to anything other than access to all areas at all times.  Furthermore, Canoe Wales has recently issued a statement on navigation policy which claimed a “right to use the inland waters of Wales” and stated that “Canoe Wales supports the rights of its members and the general public to use all the inland waters of Wales with responsibility and pride”.

All the legal textbooks concur that no such right exists, except on navigable rivers.  This has been confirmed by independent lawyers and QCs, and no legal professional has ever suggested otherwise.  The continued suggestion from the British Canoe Union and Canoe Wales that such a right might exist is causing widespread unlawful canoeing which is the subject of a complaint by the Angling Trust to UK and Welsh Government.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: “angling is worth approximately £150 million to the Welsh economy, and supports thousands of jobs.  We urge Ministers to ensure that this business, and the wild fish on which it depends, are strongly protected in any proposals for increased access.  We support increasing access to rivers for paddle boats, but is seems utterly reasonable that this access should be restricted to protect legitimate existing users and to protect the fragile environment of rivers.”

Rachel Evans Director for Wales for the Countryside Alliance said: “any increase in access to land and water must take in to consideration people’s property rights, and must be managed to complement and protect the environment and habitats.  With regard to access to rivers, the continued stand-off by Canoe Wales and their membership is once again forming barriers for negotiation. For access agreements to work on our rivers, I think it is vital that vessels be licensed and have some form of identification.”

Natural Resources Wales latest Newsletter

The latest Newsletter is worth a read, click newsletters: the latest is at the top of the list. There is an unusually large amount of angling related content. Also Board Meeting Note dated 13th February 2014

WATER FRAMEWORK DIRECTIVE WORKSHOPS

 

The initial consultation process about the Water Framework Directive was tortuous, tedious and a real drudge. I got the impression that without several degrees and an encyclopedic knowledge of the innumerable learned papers  produced by goodness knows who, the whole process was, it seemed to me, designed to frustrate all but the experts.

However, last week I attended two catchment workshops: the River Conwy and the River Clwyd. Attendees included NRW staff of course, representatives of farmers, commercial forestry, local Council, Bangor University, National Park, National Trust and many more. The NRW made it quite clear that they were addressing each river catchment separately and identifying  specific issues impacting on each. They also made it quite clear that financial constraints meant that they could not address many of the issues without support from other sectors. I went to the workshops cynical and wary: I think the EAW had lost a deal of credibility over the years, although staff in this area were trying to put that right. After the Conwy meeting we were asked to complete a “what did you think of that?” form, which I did, expressing gloom and despondency. The Clwyd workshop was two days later, by which time I had given some thought to the previous proceedings and had a change of heart. I think the NRW are being honest and as open as they can be and look forward to the follow on  consultation when, I hope, the intention will be to set up joint efforts to address the issues identified.

I was also reminded of the good work being done by the River Trusts. The Clwyd, Conwy and Gwynedd  Rivers Trust have carried out a number of substantial of environmental improvement schemes, mainly but not exclusively to tributaries, where in years gone by salmonids had spawned in great numbers.

The time has come for more partnership working, even at club level, where by a joint effort beneficial improvements can be made to in river habitat, but more importantly in the long neglected tributaries.

HYDRO POWER?

In view of the current concerns being expressed by many anglers and clubs a look at the latest Angling Trust news sheet will be a help. Click Angling Trust under Publications.

Potential disastrous pollution?

There is a potential threat to our fisheries here in Wales. Many of the conifer forests that blanket the hillsides which overlook our  rivers, and through which many of the spawning tributaries run, are due to be clearfelled, having reached maturity. Once this clear felling takes place the ground beneath, which is exposed, may be covered by as much as three feet (nine hundred millimeters) of pine needles. This depth has taken 40 years to accumulate. With no forest to hold them in, there is a risk that these pine needles, come the next heavy rainfall, will essentially be swept down the hillsides and into the rivers and streams en mass. The result: a massive increase in the acidity of the water, with the potential to kill all invertebrates in the river. This could mean that we will have dead rivers, void of all food, so that most, if not all, immature fish will perish. We recommend that you monitor the acidity levels in your rivers, streams and tributaries, your local Rivers Trust will be able to help in this, and that in May you monitor your fly life carefully (your Rivers Trust will also help in organising this). Then report your findings to NRW. This will help the investigation into this potential threat

We will keep you posted

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR

We wish you all a very happy new year in the hope that 2014 will be a happy and prosperous one, with many “tight lines”. Our wish is that there is:


an increased and growing awareness of the importance of environmental improvement works for the betterment of our fisheries and more importantly our fish and for those that join in the big plus of some healthy outdoor exercise! Try forming a local group with the aim of getting to know the tributaries where the fish spawn, make contact with the local landowner and the NRW officer responsible for the river and work together to make things better

We urge all of you who care about our fisheries to encourage fellow anglers to participate in the various campaigns that are on going and likely to be needed over the coming year. We need all remember that our politicians are in public service and that gives them the power to act in our best interests. Apathy is unforgivable!

It would be nice to see more activity on our forum?

Scottish salmon netting to restart: No!!?

Salmon Net Fishing Association of Scotland [SNFAS] to resume net fishing in the spring after a 14 year voluntary cessation. – Please sign the petition: click on this link and pass on the message to other anglers. It may make all the difference.

Click Here

EDEN TRUST has vacancy for 6 apprentices

For job description and further details job description below.

Job description

Wye Salmon association

To read the Wye Salmon Association review of the 2013 season click the link below.

Review 2013 season

FIGHT TO PROTECT REDDS! Thanks to the North Wales Daily Post

The two links below will open up .pdf’s of the two pages from the North Wales Daily Post which contained an article outlining the continuing efforts of Chris White of the Conwy Valley Fisheries and Conservation Association. Chris has been a tireless campaigner for our fisheries for many years now and is to be applauded for his dedication and unstinting efforts. Let us hope that his efforts may persuade the Welsh Government to provide funding sufficient to protect our fisheries. Nice one Chris!

Chris White

The Article

 

CELTIC SEA TROUT INITIATIVE - THE RESULTS

The following press release has been issued by Graeme Harris, which I am sure will be of great interest to those of us that participated in the scheme as well as all sea trout anglers. I sound fascinating.

As follows.

To Welsh Fisheries Interests. The EU-Funded Celtic Sea Trout Project is now in its final stage of completion. Following similar events for stakeholders in Scotland (Dumfries) and Ireland (Drogheda) this autumn, we will be holding a final ‘Project Closure’ meeting for our Welsh Stakeholders in North Wales on January 8th 2014 when each of the leaders on the 6 separate Work Tasks will provide a short presentation outlining their principal findings relevant to the future management of sea trout stocks and fisheries in the Welsh region. A formal invitation, event programme and venue location map are attached to this covering note and we hope that either you or your representative(s) will be able to attend. Please forward this information to anyone else who you think may be interested in this important, ground-breaking study. Places will be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. Further background to the Project may be obtained at www.celticseatrout.com , but please contact Graeme Harris on 01874 731175 or at fishkill@btinternet.com for further any further information about these arrangements.

Regards, Graeme Harris.

Programme

Invitation

Directions

Support the access campaign

 

Please record your support on the accesscymru web site by clicking on the link below which is highlighted in red. Sending your club logo to add to the list of supported would also be good. We must show a united front so your signing up to show support really does matter. Other interested parties that wish this to go ahead are well organised and putting up a good show: we have to do better.  click here  

Photo thanks to freedigitalphotos.net

 

Farmers, anglers and landowners unite behind sustainable access campaign in Wales

 

A broad-based coalition has been launched today (15th November 2013) with a website at www.accesscymru.org to campaign for locally-managed access to the Welsh countryside and rivers to ensure that it is sustainable and does not impact on legitimate and economically-important activities such as farming and angling.  The coalition is responding to an on-going consultation on access to the countryside by the Welsh Government, led by the Minister for Culture and Sport, John Griffiths AM, who refused to rule out the possibility of opening up access to all land and water without restrictions at a recent meeting with coalition members, which has incensed a wide range of people who make a living in the countryside.

A series of consultation events have been held with stakeholders at which landowners and angling bodies have expressed their concern about the impact on wildlife, livestock and property rights from the proposals.  The coalition wants to see sensitive wildlife and fish spawning sites protected, members of the public kept safe from livestock, and to avoid conflict with legitimate users.  They are very concerned about the potential legal liabilities and insurance costs that would be heaped onto rural businesses as a result of unfettered access to the countryside being imposed across the whole of Wales.  Many livestock farmers, already under great economic pressure, have said that this would have a very damaging effect on the way that they farm, with concerns over dog controls and damage to crops.  There are great fears that members of the public might be injured or killed by farm animals when straying off managed paths.

Angling clubs are extremely worried by proposals for universal access to water as they are already suffering the impacts of widespread illegal canoeing.  Angling clubs and landowners have had great difficulties finalising voluntary access agreements because Canoe Wales has refused to allow its regional representatives to agree to any restrictions, insisting instead on access at all times and water heights.

A green paper consultation is expected before Christmas and the leaders of the organisations are holding a series of meetings with Assembly Members, Ministers and officials to make their views clear.  The coalition of rural organisations has launched a call for funds to support the campaign, including the cost of legal advice on potential challenges to legislation.  Details of where you can send your donations can be found at www.accesscymru.org where you can also sign up in support of the campaign.

Rachel Evans, Director of the Countryside Alliance in Wales said: “Wales has a vast network of footpaths and bridleways and large areas of National Park which are available to walkers, riders and mountain bikers.  It is already difficult for farmers and landowners to manage their activities to keeppotentially dangerous livestock away from these paths.  A free-for-all would create chaos in the countryside.”

Ben Underwood, Director of the Country Land and Business Association in Wales said: “We have put forward a range of proposals to improve access legislation to remove some of the bureaucratic red tape and to reach agreements more rapidly at a local level so that local people and visitors alike can explore the Welsh countryside safely, but without damaging the interests of thousands of rural businesses who make their living from the land, and are major employers.  We would strongly resist any blanket proposals that did not take into account local diversity.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said: “On several rivers, such as the Wye, Usk, Dee, Conwy and Teifi, agreements have been drawn up to allow canoes and other boats access at certain times of the year to avoid conflict with anglers and/or spawning fish.  These agreements have worked well in many places, but in others they have not progressed because Canoe Wales has resisted agreements which do not allow unfettered access for everyone at all times.  The canoeing governing bodies have also created confusion in Wales and the rest of the UK by suggesting that there might be some uncertainty about the law regarding navigation, which there is not.”

Tony Rees, Chairman of Angling Cymru said: “Officials have shown an interest in replicating the right to roam arrangements in Scotland, but this is not a good comparison.  There have been significant problems in areas close to major urban centres in Scotland and angling businesses on rivers such as the Tay have lost a huge amount of visiting anglers because of an influx of commercial rafting companies that make fishing impossible.  Wales is in easy access of Liverpool, Manchester, the West Midlands conurbation and Bristol; unregulated access to rivers could impact very significantly on tens of thousands of people in Wales who are members of local angling clubs.  Angling Cymru has always promoted voluntary access agreements as the preferred way forward and its members are committed to this end.”

George Barron, Chairman of the Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association said: “I feel that the new legislation being proposed by John Griffiths AM is basically the ‘Nationalisation’ of all Welsh waters and land.   If unrestricted blanket access goes ahead, all farmers, landowners and most certainly angling clubs, may no longer have control or be able to manage effectively the assets presently under their control.  Any new access legislation must be agreed locally by all the User Groups, they must be regulated and endorse similar codes of conduct as expected of the landowners and angling clubs.   Given that enforcement by the NRW will be a major concern, particularly on the waterways, all User Groups should also share the cost of improved bailiffing and enforcement on a pro rata basis.”

NOTES:

  • ·        Please direct all e-mails via the link on the SACC website
  • ·        The Welsh version of the website will be available in the next ten days
  • ·        This is a copy of the press release sent to all media

With best wishes and sent on behalf of SACC,

Rachel

Rachel Evans

Director for Wales

07825337978