As a matter of urgency, we ask the Cabinet Minister to investigate the conduct of the Natural Resources Wales Executive during the consultation process and recommendation for changes to rod and line fishing bye-laws at the (NRW) Board Meeting held at Bangor University on the 18th January 2018, before accepting any proposals to change existing fishing bye-laws.
1. The NRW Executive failed to follow democratic procedure by refusing the NRW Board members to vote on new proposals to new fishing Bye-laws by rod and line fishermen. The NRW Executive adopted a draconian stance and ignored the concerns of the stakeholders during the consultation process and NRW full board members at the meeting.
2. The NRW Executive recommended changes to the Bye-laws to the Welsh Assembly having endorsed at the board meeting that the proposals will have little, to no effect on reducing Salmon and Sea Trout stocks within the Inland River catchments throughout Wales.
3. The NRW Executives having recognised “other issues” contributing to reduction in Salmon and Sea Trout stocks, failed to prioritise and take action on these “other issues” and have done so, over a number of decades with no future planning. The NRW Board are therefore in breach with Section 6 (6) Environment (Wales) Act 2016 and failing to achieve its objective in reducing risk to Salmon and Sea Trout stock levels in Welsh Rivers, particularly with:
(a) Pollution prevention, monitoring, effective enforcement and prosecution.
(b) Wildlife predation monitoring and recommending proportional controls.
4. The NRW Executives at the board meeting openly accepted that they failed to effectively communicate and adopt a policy of implementing agreements with stakeholders, who are expected to monitor and report on behalf of Natural Resources Wales and voluntarily enforce the proposed changes to bye-laws, which many disagree with.
5. Failed to adopt a strategy, that is recognised as best practice in other countries, to monitor and accurately risk access each river and recommending any sanctions on an individual river by river basis, with relevant stakeholders.
6. NRW board and executives have failed to follow due care and diligence during the consultation process resulting in a failing to recognise the importance of how their new bye-laws will adversely affect:
(a) Recreational angling opportunities, economic benefit to rural and coastal communities and in conflict to the Wellbeing of Future Generations Wellbeing Act of 2015.
(b) The good will of stakeholders who have effectively monitored and protected the natural environment in the absence of Natural Resources Wales for over a decade and put at risk that continued good will for future generations.