Summary of Discussions at the CFF meeting of 15 August.

1: “Taking Forward Wales’ Sustainable Management of Natural Resources”

Members were reminded of the importance of submitting individual responses to the Welsh Assembly Government consultation document.
The proposals in the Consultation have far reaching implications including a proposal to provide access to canoes, rafts or even paddleboards on any non-tidal water, rivers or inland waters anywhere, overriding restrictions under existing law.

It is crucial that all anglers, who care about the future of fish and fishing, make an effort to respond to the consultation exercise by the end of September, 2017. A draft response is available on the CFF website and in the Sea Trout Forum CFF section.

2: Smolt Shepherding

Three Gas cannons have been secured by NRW for use in the catchment. They will initially be used in the middle reaches of the Tywy to aid scaring of FEBs . They will be relocated next Spring to scare off FEBs predating on shoaling smolts migrating downstream in the Nantgaredig area. This replicates a successful scheme introduced on the South Esk.

A second license is being applied for and volunteers are again required to help with bird counting and scaring activities during the winter. Please contact Mike Hill if you are able to help in this regard. Tel: 07931 332270 email: mike@carmarthenshirefishermensfederation.org

3: Tree planting.

Each year at Olympus Surgical Technologies Europe, they celebrate World Environment Day and have this year granted £600 to be made available for tree planting in the upper reaches of the Tywy. This is largely due to the quick thinking of one of our anglers, Mark Hewitt, a Senior Product Evaluation Engineer at the company drawing the availability of the grant to the attention of the CFF.

Caroline Orr was contacted and applied for a grant which proved successful. Caroline explained at the meeting that the grant will be used to plant additional trees in a strategic area of the upper Tywy. This will help to reduce water temperatures, create additional shading and encourage invertebrate life thereby encouraging and protecting juvenile fish during a very precarious time in their life cycle.

4: Agricultural Pollution

Huw Williams NRW gave an update on the actions being taken to address agricultural pollution issues.
Details included:

• Representatives of the CFF have been invited to attend the “2017 Muck and Soil Event” which will be held at Coleg Sir Gar, Gelli Aur Campus on 24th August, bringing together working demonstrations, trade stands, research plots, information and advice to farmers on slurry management.

The event is being organised by the 2017 Royal Welsh Feature County, Carmarthenshire, as part of their support to the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society in their “Feature Year”. There will also be a focus on renewable Energy and a wide range of other initiatives. Of particular importance to CFF members will be the latest thinking and equipment to manage soil.

• The CFF has previously pledged its support to the Gelli Aur Agricultural College’s proposal to commence piloting a new method of processing slurry by abstracting harmful fluids from it. The mandate for this came from the AGM meeting on the 9th November, 2016 in which the membership congratulated the College on the development of this project.

The process will require less slurry storage on site and less handling of slurry and the amount of liquor that is spread on farmland. This could be one way of reduce the existing problems of overloaded waste systems and the amount of polluted runoff from farmland. Funding approval has now been received and it is understood that the pilot will become operational in November, 2017.

• Additional resources are being made available to work with the agricultural sector. – however the Agricultural Advisers originally anticipated for the Tywi from DCWW monies will now concentrate their efforts on the lower Teifi and Western Cleddau to coincide with DCWW priority water catchments. The additional Environment Officers that NRW is in the process of appointing will focus on Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. It is hoped that this will come into being in the near future.

• The CFF has been active in highlighting angler concerns and opposition to a Retrospective Planning Application for the use of an Anaerobic Digester at a farm on the outskirts of Tregaron.

• The CFF has been active in highlighting angler concerns and opposition to the erection of a large Poultry Unit on a Farm in Llangadog.

The CFF is particularly concerned to ensure that there is careful and thorough scrutiny by CCC and NRW of the manure management plans for this development in relation to the ongoing problems that are being experienced on the river Tywi from excessive nutrient inputs.

It was pointed out that Herefordshire County Council Planning department in conjunction with the Wye and Usk Foundation has established a procedure for assessing future applications in terms of their potential to add to the phosphate problem.

The CFF has urged Carmarthenshire County Council to work with Natural Resources Wales to establish similar procedures for developments within Carmarthenshire.

The Welsh Land Management Forum Working group

The CFF Chairman has been invited to become a member of the Wales Land Management Forum Working Group on agricultural pollution, joining representatives from Welsh Government, NRW, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and Meat Promotion Wales and other representatives of the agricultural sector. He will be representing angling interests.

The primary purpose of the Forum is to investigate, agree, report and deliver on potential solutions for tackling both diffuse and point source agricultural pollution in Wales.

The Group will:

• Undertake a root cause analysis in order to achieve a common understanding of the causes of agricultural pollution and the ways in which these are currently addressed;
• Identify potential options for legislative and non-legislative measures designed to address agricultural pollution;
• Estimate the resources required to deliver the changes required and appraise each option in terms of a cost benefit analysis as far as possible;
• Select a smaller number of priority options for further development, taking into account those likely to be the most beneficial in the context of other sources of diffuse and point source pollution;
• Adopt a partnership approach to identifying and bidding for the resources required to develop specific initiatives, and when appropriate act as the Steering Group during the implementation phase.
• Address the requirement to establish measurable targets for reducing the number of point source agricultural pollution incidents, tackling the extent of diffuse pollution and improving water quality over a specific timeframe;
• Raise awareness and commitment of key stakeholders within the WLMF, the Agricultural Strategy Partnership Group (Amaeth Cymru), relevant sector bodies such as AHDB Dairy and Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC), agricultural advisors within the banking sector and the River Basin Management Liaison Panels.

Members were pleased to note that there is now an opportunity to provide an angling perspective on the importance of finding solutions to improve water quality on our rivers.

5. Update on recent NRW prosecutions:

Details of recent successful agricultural pollution incident prosecutions were reported.
NRW was congratulated on bringing these cases to court. The fines imposed by the courts in these cases were substantial.

6. Tywi Restoration Plan

Consideration is being given to the development of a Tywi Restoration Plan.

The current arrangement with Afonydd Cymru is to prioritise work on the Teifi and then the Mawddach. Subject to additional NRW funding being made available, NRW are keen to see real progress being made on a plan for the Tywi.

CFF are pressing for a Tywi Restoration Plan to be produced as this will give an opportunity to develop a holistic plan, which will include all major stakeholders, to address water quality issues.

7. Himalayan Balsam Project Report – Year 1

A feedback presentation was given by Jamie Harries and Mike Hill. The project has gathered a great deal of momentum and expressions of gratitude were received from affiliated clubs.

Particular thanks were extended to the grantors, (The Nineveh Trust, Afonydd Cymru, the Carmarthenshire Rivers Trust, Llandeilo Angling Association, Crosshands and District Angling Association, Carmarthen Amateur Angling Association, NRW, those who had volunteered with the mapping, Huw Williams and Alison Baird NRW for their technical support, the work undertaken by David Jones in preparing the grant applications and the works coordination undertaken by Jamie Harries and Mike Hill.

The CFF team are in the process of gathering letters of appreciation from club officials, riparian owners and individual anglers which will form part of the first year report.

This will form the basis for applying for further grants for year 2.