NRW introduces Severn salmon emergency byelaws


Alice Fallon

New salmon emergency byelaw in Wales

NRW introduces Severn salmon emergency byelaw

An emergency byelaw to protect vulnerable salmon stocks on the River Severn in Wales is being introduced by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) for 2021 from the 1st March.

The byelaw, which makes catch and release for rod and line fishing compulsory on the Severn in Wales, was first introduced ahead of the 2020 season after stock figures revealed a significant reduction in salmon numbers pushing the river into the ‘probably at risk’ category.

The continued decline in salmon stock numbers means that every fish returned safely could contribute to improving the spawning population and even relatively small numbers of fish are crucial to recover stocks in as short a time as possible.

Later this spring we hope to bring forward a public consultation in conjunction with the Environment Agency (EA) on measures to protect the Severn salmon stock for the next 10 years which we discussed at our last meeting.

Given the timescales involved it is unlikely that these new measures will be in place before the 2021 fishing season, so we need to carefully consider what we can do now to protect vulnerable stocks.

The emergency byelaw replicates the current level of protection for salmon introduced to English sections of the River Severn by the EA and ensures an integrated catchment approach to the management of migratory fish stocks.

In summary:

  1. All salmon must be returned immediately to the river with the least possible injury throughout the season.
  2. Early Season Method Restriction for salmon means that bait fishing is prohibited before the 16th June.

A copy of the Emergency Byelaw and a guide to the Salmon seasons and method restrictions for all Welsh rivers can be found on the NRW web pages at Natural Resources Wales / Salmon open seasons and method restrictions