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

Canolfan Cyswllt Cyntaf I First Point of Contact Centre:

0300 0604400

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

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