Natural Resources Wales (NRW) say that the number of salmon and sea trout in Welsh rivers have continued to fall and ‘could disappear’ – threatening the future of many fisheries.
Fisheries are worth about £150m to the economy each year, and with stocks having reached an unprecedented low, measures are being considered to halt the decline to protect about 1,500 jobs supported by the industry.
NRW’s Ceri Davies said: “The decline in number of salmon and sea trout migrating back into most of our rivers is now so serious that we need to give more adult fish the chance to spawn if we are to ensure the survival of the species in Welsh Waters. We have already asked anglers to release the salmon they catch and we feel it is time to introduce further controls on fishing for salmon and sea trout.”
Other proposals for new byelaws include shortening the netting season, introducing size limits and restricting certain methods so that released fish have a better chance of survival.
Fish stocks are assessed annually and 21 of 23 salmon rivers are at risk of not meeting target numbers, while 21 of 33 sea trout rivers were described as vulnerable.
NRW, a Welsh Government sponsored body, is now running a consultation until November 14th 2017 on what can be done to increase stocks.