We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to ensure an immediate postponement of the 10-year catch & release proposal for all salmon on Welsh rivers, whilst a full and proper impact assessment is carried out into the effects on local business and tourist economy, at a time when the Welsh economy is already suffering due to the decline in steel production. We believe this matter requires urgent attention.
I am chairman of Abergwili Angling Club, based in Carmarthen and I'm concerned by recent proposals by NRW to impose a ten- year catch and release only policy for salmon on all Welsh rivers, with no scientific evidence that pleasure anglers are responsible for the decline in migratory salmon stock.
A high percentage of our Club members travel into Wales bringing much needed revenue into the local economy. Below you will find extracts from the NRW’s own technical report that highlights the losses that may well be incurred, following the expected loss of anglers coming to Wales, should NRW go ahead with a 10-year Salmon catch & release programme.
Below are extracts from a recent ‘consultation’ with anglers, in West Wales :-
NRW B B 40.15 Annex 2 TECHNICAL REPORT: MANAGEMENT OPTIONS TO ADDRESS THE DECLINE IN STOCKS OF SALMON AND SOME SEA TROUT IN WALES
7. Salmon and sea trout are iconic and important species in our rivers. They support recreational fisheries that bring economic benefit (in excess of £74 million annual expenditure in Wales, supporting around 1,500 Welsh jobs and £32 million in household income, Mawle and Peirson, 2009), often to rural communities, and are widely recognised as indicators of good environmental quality. Salmon support the designation of six rivers designated as Special Areas of Conservation. These are the SAC rivers, as designated under the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) in Wales. The salmon is also a feature of the Severn Estuary European Marine site (a SAC, and a site also designated as a Special Protection Area under the Birds Directive and a Ramsar site). 8. Welsh Government has set objectives for NRW to contribute to objectives for freshwater fisheries management, broadly by promotion of the conservation and maintenance of the diversity of migratory and freshwater fish, and by enhancing the contribution that migratory and freshwater fisheries make to the economy, particularly in remote rural areas and in areas with low levels of income. NRW also has statutory duties for fisheries under the Environment Act (1995), and obligations as set out in the UK Governments responsibilities to NASCO (the North Atlantic Conservation Organisation) to which the EC is a signatory.
Furthermore, the answer to a recent Freedom of Information request –ref: ATI – 09971a – is set out below:-
As part of any case for proposed new fishing control measures Natural Resources Wales is obliged to consider socio-economic factors. I can confirm that this has yet to take place, therefore regulation 12.4(a) of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 applies.
Information not held. We do not have an expected date of when this will be completed however we do hope to complete it later this year.