NRW’s proposals for new rod and net fishing byelaws

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: –

https://gov.wales/written-statement-outcome-local-inquiry-natural-resources-wales-proposed-all-wales-salmon-and-sea