Salmon and sewin fishing in West Wales on the Towy, Cothi & Gwili.

NRW consultation on catch control bylaws:

We urge all members and all reading this to consult your local assembly member and voice your opinion. As a proposal, this could have far reaching effects such as a significant impact to the local economy (fisheries are currently worth £150 million per year to the Welsh economy), discouraging youngsters and the disabled/vulnerable to fish due to restrictions on bait fishing and glossing over the very real issues of pollution in our rivers and food shortages when the fish return to sea.

As an angling club, we have introduced several measures to encourage the return of fish, such as all sewin under 12” and above 6lb and the return of all salmon where possible on our Fosters stretch. Whilst we acknowledge catch and release isn’t a bad idea, the way it’s being done is unjust as anglers are not to blame for declined fish stocks. Pollution has been a major problem the last few years especially with numerous incidents locally on the Towy, Gwili and Teifi, this is all well as increased numbers of predators and exploitation at sea.

With the suggested restrictions on bait fishing in particular, we would see a significant drop in the number of youngsters taking up fishing and the vulnerable/disabled continuing to fish. As a youngster, I started fishing through the medium of worming as I’m sure the majority would have. Banning the use of bait fishing would discourage youngsters from starting to fish in the first place.

With vulnerable/disabled anglers, bait fishing gives them the opportunity to be active as a lot physically cannot fish using other methods, depriving them of the activity they enjoy and the physical excursion they would be lacking if they stopped.

As for the local economy, the NRW have quoted the figure of £150 million per year to the Welsh economy. With catch  and release implemented, this would discourage the number of anglers from all over the UK and  further coming to fish our rivers, depriving local businesses of the trade they would receive.

The levels of pollution on our rivers in the last few years have been disgusting. With slurry being leaked into our rivers as well as kerosene, fish are being killed indiscriminately, yet anglers are the group being punished.

We urge you to contact your local assembly member about this issue.

Thank you,

Mike Morris.