Commentary from CPWF Conservation Officer

As I am away next week following discussions with the key CPWF objectors I have sent the attached letter to the Minister this evening (and received acknowledgement of its receipt). 

I am not sure if this will make any difference and expect to receive the standard ‘I can’t comment until I receive the Inspectors report’ reply from the Minister.  However by sending this now it raises concerns about the way in which this sham of an inquiry has been handled.  We cannot of course know what the Inspector will recommend and the fact that he has requested extra time tends to signify he is struggling due to his lack of understanding of fisheries issues.  The risk here is that he will use the precautionary principle to justify his recommendations whilst recognising our valid arguments but we will have to wait until his report is sent to the Minister, hopefully we will get a copy before any decision is made, it is up to the Minister to agree to release the report to us as soon as she receives it.

In terms of the decision process as this is new legislation, the proposals cannot be considered as a byelaw as this is not a local issue i.e. it is an All Wales Fisheries Regulation and therefore has to follow the same route as any other legislation.  In addition it will be necessary to repeal the existing local fisheries byelaws – all 10 of them.  Having looked at the WG process for introducing new legislation my understanding is the Minister has to present her recommendations for new legislation to the Assembly and these are scrutinised by one of two legislative committees before being passed back to the Assembly for approval, the Assembly website says this can take up to 40 days.  Once approved by the Assembly the legislation has to be sent for Royal Assent.  As the inspectors report is now not due until 3 June it is unlikely that the byelaws if approved would be in place before August bearing in mind there is also a summer recess of the Assembly.  My previous request for the Minister to delay any fisheries legislation until 2020 has so far been rejected. 

I have attached an email from the Rev Paul Cawthorn which you should read as it covers most of our concerns.  It seems that in his meeting with NRW (Gough and Mee) in Dolgellau Paul was told that if the decision goes against NRW they will apply for emergency measures but they did not quantify where these would apply, there are still issues we will have to fight whatever happens.

Feel free to circulate this to your members and AM’s

Chris

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