Cymdeithas Pysgota Llandeilo Angling Association
Natural Resources Wales (NRW and formerly, Environment Agency Wales) have recently published their proposals for new net and rod fishing byelaws across Wales.
One of these new proposals includes a ban on bait fishing for Salmon and Seatrout on Welsh Rivers.
This proposal is of our primary concern, as for many anglers young and old, fishing is a passion that started and continues with fishing a worm.
Whilst we fully accept that salmon and seatrout stocks are not in a good place at the moment and we all have our part to play in conserving stocks, NRW seem to overlook that the fishermen of the rivers and lakes of this country are on the whole the most responsible custodians of the rivers and their inhabitants. For they are the ones who spend time on the waters observing its condition and reporting on pollution or fish kill incidents alongside their vital catch returns which provide NRW with their statistics upon which they base the salmon and seatrout stocks in the rivers.
Already this year we have had reports that of all pollution incidents reported less than 1% were successfully investigated and that the organisation was not fit for purpose. Water pollution both industrial and agricultural are major contributory factors to the decline of salmon and seatrout stocks in our waters, yet there seem to be no new policies to deal with this.
Fish predation on the river is another matter that NRW seem to overlook - the Tywi valley is but one of many in Wales over run by cormorants and goosanders, that eat their own body weight of juvenile salmon and seatrout on a weekly basis, - the NRW’s response - to set off bird scarers on one pool in the lower reaches of the river (sending the birds upstream to feed in peace)?
Furthermore, NRW has clearly stated that the primary reason for the decline in fish numbers is due to fish survival at sea.
Despite these issues, year after year it is the anglers and angling clubs who seem to be persecuted and bear the brunt of NRW’s policy decisions.
With regard to their ban on bait fishing our greatest worry is that the next generation of young anglers won't even get the opportunity to fish, so what future impact will this have on the river custodians of the future?
By NRW’s own statistics, fisheries are worth in the region of £150 million annually to the Welsh economy, supporting over 1,500 jobs - these proposals in our opinion would be the beginning of the end of fishing for salmon and seatrout in Wales.
Please consider the future of our sport - a ban on bait fishing would have a devastating effect on angling numbers both young and old, with many angling clubs already struggling this will push many over the edge.
We implore you all, parents, grandparents, fishermen and non-fishermen alike to sign the petition and register our combined opposition to NRW's proposal to prohibit bait fishing for Salmon and Seatrout on Welsh rivers, that would prevent generations of children enjoying an hour on the river that could stay with them for a lifetime and not let fishing become an elitist sport for the privileged few.
Let your voice be heard!