Following our letter to Hannah Blythyn MP pointing out the state of our counties rivers, CFF were approached by Simon Hart, MP for Carmarthen West, to set up a river walk in his constituency. We were joined by officers of Whitland Angling Club and walked the river Taf at Whitland to show him the build up of algae facilitated by agricultural pollution. CFF regularly writes to MPs, AMs and Councillors to draw attention to the state of our rivers and tributaries. We look forward to working with Whitland to raise awareness of the situation on their waters.
Farming Connect is an organisation providing information to farmers to make better use of their existing farm infrastructure in order to limit the pollution risks their farms may pose. They have held a number of events across Wales and CFF have attended and given talks at events at farms on key tributaries including the Crychiau, Rhosmaen Dulais, Cynin and Sannan / Dulais. These events have grown in attendance – the latest one was held last Monday and 30 farmers and Gelli Aur students attended. Here, Creighton is giving at talk on the pending regulations. Jamie and I have given talks at similar local groups on what we have found in our rivers.
Our political action is backed up by a programme of work on the ground and in-river. We believe that this work is key to gaining traction with NRW and the farming bodies, who see that there is a concerned organisation trying to make things better. For the past 18 months we have been working to remove blockages and plastic debris from the Cennen, Mydyffi and Rhosmaen Dulais. As plastic pollution is in the spotlight at the moment, we use photos like this as much as possible to let locals and organisations know what is happening in our rivers and that we are prepared to do something about it. We are arranging to meet with the Cwm Du Community Council in the near future to get local residents on board.
In this low water it is much easier to see and locate point source pollution, either from a pipe, ditch or culvert.
The two pics of fungus I took 3yrs ago in low water, I followed it upstream and located a ditch where slurry was running 24/7 365 days into this river.
NRW called, attended and found the farmer had recently constructed a huge slurry lagoon and fitted an overflow pipe into the ditch.
He was prosecuted and fined £5,000.
The pic of oily scum reported again from a pipe and again coming from a farm, he has since sorted it out.
I know it wasn’t his fault as the previous farmer had installed the pipe. But it’s sorted.
We as anglers must take advantage of this low water, as it highlights how bad the problems have been for years.
In normal conditions we can’t see them as the flow of water is good and wash away the evidence of pollution, but the pollution still happened!
So use this opportunity, walk the small streams as well, let this dry spell work in our favour for the long term of fishing.
This report from a CFF member.
NRW welcomes the decision announced on 16th July by the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths and the opportunity to move forwards with our shared objectives for sustainable fisheries for the future. The Minister’s decision follows a full public consultation and independent scrutiny of all evidence at a Local Inquiry managed by the Planning Inspectorate.
The new byelaws will become law on all rivers wholly within Wales on 1st January 2020 and will see the following controls and restrictions implemented:
- Implementing full catch and release fishing on all net and rod fisheries for salmon
- Requiring catch and release of sea trout in rod fisheries on vulnerable rivers prior to the 1st May
- Setting a 60cm maximum size limit for the taking of sea trout in all rod fisheries
- Implementing method restrictions (controls on use of bait, barbless hooks and treble hooks) so that released fish have the best chance of survival.
- Making consistent the start and end of the net fishing seasons by:
- Shortening the netting season by starting net fisheries no earlier than 1st May
- Ending the netting season on the 31st July
The survival of salmon in some rivers is now threatened, whilst across Wales all of our salmon and most of our sea trout stocks are now at risk of further decline to biologically unsafe levels. All evidence reinforces the need to take bold and urgent action.
NRW will work closely with our stakeholders via our Local Fisheries Groups and the Wales Fisheries Forum during scheduled Autumn meetings (November) to ensure a smooth transition.
We want to ensure that all anglers and netsmen in Wales fully understand why the new measures are required and what they mean to them on all our individual river fisheries. All fishermen need to be compliant, but we also want to help by promoting good practice C&R, ensuring that all released fish have the best possible chance of surviving to spawn and contributing to the recovery of stocks.
The Welsh Government announcement and papers can be found here: –
Hopefully you will be aware of the Adopt A Tributary scheme we are working on with West Wales Rivers Trust . The CFF team have visited a number of Clubs to make presentations and a slide show was given at the last CFF meeting in April.
We have been supported in this work by Dwr Cymru and NRW, who are funding the Trust to develop the programme. The CFF team went on a riverbank walk with Hilary Foster, NRW’s Biodiversity Officer and were given instruction in bank side and in-river habitat appraisal and guidance on how to work on blockages whilst minimising risk to wildlife.
Here is a link to the above programme in case you missed it : Ruined Rivers