NRW launches Severn catch control consultation


A 12-week consultation on proposals for catch control bye-laws for salmon fishing on the Welsh side of the River Severn will begin today (19 July 2021).

NRW is urging anglers and interested parties to have their say on proposed new byelaws that aim to protect the salmon and sea trout stocks on the River Severn in Wales.

It is hoped that the proposed new measures will be in place for the next 10 years and contribute to a reversal of the current decline of returning adult salmon numbers.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is making the proposals in response to the dramatic decline in stocks of salmon and sea trout in Welsh rivers in recent years. This consultation provides the opportunity to express views on the suggested byelaws to improve the chances of salmon survival and further increase numbers that can successfully spawn. Leading to recovery and the long-term future sustainability of this iconic species.

Peter Gough, Principal Fisheries Officer for Natural Resources Wales, said:

There are continuing concerns around the numbers of salmon returning to our rivers and the future of many fisheries is now threatened.
Put simply, there are not enough adult fish spawning to sustain stocks at their current levels or to prevent further decline.
We are now seeking views on the catch control proposals which will protect vulnerable stocks while maintaining the important environmental and economic benefits associated with fishing.
NRW is tackling other factors affecting fish stocks such as habitat damage, pollution and illegal exploitation, however it believes these proposals can make a real difference.

The proposals for the Severn are

  • Require mandatory catch and release of all salmon and sea trout caught by rod and line
  • Restrict angling fishing methods in order to improve the handling and survival of released salmon.
    • Ban on bait fishing for salmon and sea trout
    • Barbless hooks
    • Restrictions on hook type, size, and their number

The Byelaws replicate the current level of protection for salmon and sea trout proposed for the English sections of the River Severn by the EA and ensures an integrated catchment approach to the management of migratory fish stocks.

The byelaws are intended to protect vulnerable stocks, while maintaining many of the important benefits associated with the fisheries.

Peter added:

Just as the Severn is an iconic river, the salmon is an iconic fish and we must do everything in our power to ensure stocks recover and thrive in the future.
We recognise the need for a fully integrated whole-catchment approach for our border rivers and we are working with the EA to ensure that this happens in a practical and sensible way.

Have your say on the proposals by visiting: