NRW response

Address:                                                           Our Ref:

Your Ref:

Mr Mike Ashwin

By e-mail                                                          Date: 3.12.20

Dear Mike,

Thank you for your letter dated 3rd November 2020.

In response to the first issue you raise, the above letter was not received by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) until your email of the 21st November and hence could not have been addressed in the Wales Fisheries Forum (WFF) meeting which took place on the 19th November.

Regarding stock assessments for 2020 (and byelaw issues aside), we expect COVID19 with associated restrictions on travel and other related matters will have had an impact on angling activity. Given these exceptional circumstances, we are anticipating that some modification to assessment procedures may be necessary in 2020, however we will not take a final decision until a meaningful examination of catch returns is possible early in the New Year (noting that final reminders to submit catch returns are sent out in January). At that stage, we should also be in a position to view those provisional catch data alongside validated counts (on the rivers where we have fish counters or traps). Other factors, including possible byelaw impacts on angling, will also be considered at that time. In carrying out this work we will be liaising closely with the Environment Agency (EA) and Cefas.

The rationale behind the decision to revert back to the single (national) x1.1. raising factor to convert declared angling catches to estimates of total catch, has been covered by my EA colleague Simon Toms in his email correspondence to you of the 4th August 2020. This also addresses some of the specific points you raise about reported catches in the Northwest of England, which, of course, is outside the jurisdiction of NRW.

Simon’s response also refers to the steps we are taking (within the wider review of stock assessment procedures) to improve modelling of angling exploitation rates as a key part of the process of converting catches into estimates of returning stock. That work is progressing but is not complete, and so we do not yet have proposals to share

with WFF or the England Fisheries Group (EFG). However, once we are in position to share that information, we will do so (as we have committed to do in the NASCO IP). The last point above applies to all aspects pertaining to the review of stock assessment procedures, and provides the opportunity for engagement with external fisheries interests, both lay and specialist, including, where we can, through peer-reviewed scientific publication. We will also keep our strategic WFF informed on progress as, I suspect, the EA will do with their EFG. We will also be reporting progress through the Annual Progress Report for the NASCO IP.

Finally, I understand that Simon has previously offered to meet you to discuss some of these matters. NRW will be happy to support such a meeting.

Yours sincerely

PETER GOUGH

Principal Advisor Fisheries

Cc        Simon Toms, Environment Agency Ian Davidson, NRW

Ffôn/Tel            03000 653501

Ebost/Email peter.gough@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Croesewir gohebiaeth yn y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg Correspondence welcomed in Welsh and English

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