Back to the Minister. Thanks John Eardley

13th November 2019

Lesley Griffiths AM – Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs

By email to (for the personal attention of the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs)

Dear Minister,

Thank you for your letter Ref: LG/07251/19 dated 28th October. Whilst further dialogue seems somewhat futile there are nevertheless certain points which require a response.

  • You make the point that:

“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.’”

Since there was no document attached to your letter we remain in the dark regarding the source of this statement, particularly as it is conspicuous by its absence within the key document CNL(14)71 NASCO Implementation Plan for the period 2013-18 EU – UK (England and Wales).

  • For those rivers in Wales with a mean catch of less than 20 salmon it is difficult to see how you can be “content (that) the All Wales Byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by NASCO” when, as we have previously pointed out, NASCO states that voluntary and not mandatory measures should be promoted on those rivers.
  • In your response to our request for deferment of the All Wales Byelaws for a year, in order to allow for the promotion of voluntary measures you make reference to your “discussions with many officials and stakeholders” and yet every reasonable request that has been made by angling stakeholders for a face to face meeting with yourself in order to fully explain our concerns has been met with point blank refusal.
  • Your statement “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” fails to recognise the different response by anglers to voluntary and mandatory measures. We reiterate our original statement: “A significant number of anglers, local and visiting alike, no longer fish when Mandatory Catch & Release is introduced and as a result clubs lose both members and revenue. As a result they can no longer afford to rent some of their waters and those who wish to continue fishing are denied access. Local angling clubs do not “thrive” in those circumstances and their future existence very much hangs in the balance”
  • With reference to the Dee and Conwy it is again difficult to see how you can be “content (that) the All Wales Byelaws are consistent with the principles and guidance developed by NASCO” when both

rivers are fully compliant with NASCO Policy in meeting their voluntary targets and yet you seek to impose mandatory measures and in so doing further alienate angling stakeholders.

  • You also make reference to the fact that “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” and yet at the NRW Board Meeting on 18th January 2018 there was clear recognition by both the board and executive that they had “failed to engage properly with stakeholders” in developing the All Wales Byelaws.

Since July 2015 there has been a constant refusal by NRW to even begin to discuss the options for a voluntary solution and we are now met with further intransigence from Welsh Government. The leader of the UK Labour Party spoke last week of a “government that’s on your side “and “real politics is about ‘bringing people together to stand up for their community’”. In the context of the All Wales Byelaws those words have a very hollow ring to most of us in the angling community.

John Eardley – Strategy Officer, Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries

Dr Robin Parry – Chair, Gwynedd Local Fisheries Advisory Group

Mervyn Williams – Chair, Dee Local Fisheries Advisory Group

On behalf of:

Bangor on Dee Salmon Angling Association Campaign for the Protection of Welsh Fisheries Capenhurst Angling Club

Chirk Syndicate

Clwyd Federation of Angling Clubs

Corwen and District Angling Club

Dee Fisheries Association

Dolgellau Angling Association

Dolwyddelan Angling Association

Llanbrynmair Angling Association

Llangollen Maelor Angling

Llyn Guides

New Dovey Fishery Association (1929) Ltd

Ogwen Valley Angling Association

Penrhyn Fishing Club

Prince Albert Angling Society

Rhagatt Estate

Rhyl & St. Asaph Angling Association

Rossett and Gresford Fly Fishers

Seiont Gwyrfai & Llyfni Fishing Society

Vale of Clwyd Angling Club

Wirral Game Fishing Club

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