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

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

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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.


Lesley  Griffiths AC/AM

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

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