A SENIOR member of the Teifi Trout Association (TTA) has raised concerns over ‘restrictions’ that he fears may be put in place by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) regarding salmon fishing in the River Teifi and throughout Wales.
Secretary of the TTA Gwyn Morris has said that NRW is looking to introduce a ban on salmon fishing and introduce restrictions on fishing methods such as bait fishing.
The TTA currently has around 200 members and owns a n approximate 20 mile stretch of water in the Teifi. The fishing strip has received considerable investment in its time, some of which has been sourced through grant funding.
In the late 1980s, Gwyn said that the TTA had initially purchased a strip (which spanned several miles), in part, by using funds that involved a £50k grant from Ceredigion Council. The area also received National Lottery funding for several disabled platforms which can be found along the river.
Gwyn said: “They [NRW] can’t tell us when this ban is coming in. They’re trying to fetch this legislation in, but they’ve got to go through Welsh Government. We’re opposing it being passed if we can.”
Gwyn also raised concerns about the TTA’s disabled members, most of whom rely on bait fishing, something Gwyn expects to be banned.
He said: “With our members now, most of them are getting older, you’ve got more disabled every year, and that’s what we have to try and hit them with now, they’re depriving the disabled.”
With reference to statistical evidence he had received at a meeting at University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Gwyn also argued that there had been a 23% increase in salmon numbers in the Teifi.
Having spoken to Gwyn, the Herald contacted the NRW where we got through to Principal Communications Officer, Martyn Gough. While Martyn acknowledged that numbers of adult salmon may well have increased (he could not confirm this either way), he did point out that NRW was currently more concerned with salmon fry numbers which have been declining across the country.
Martyn said: “We’re still very much at the stage where we are investigating the reason for this decline in the numbers and we will take steps eventually, but what they are we don’t know at the moment.”
Martyn went on to dismiss claims of a potential ban, adding: “It’s a problem that we need to address but it is something that we’re still investigating and because of that, we haven’t made any decisions on restrictions or any sort of ban that may or may not take place; that’s a discussion for once we’ve collated all the evidence.
“As you can image, there’s an awful lot of rumours and gossip around the situation. At the moment, there is nothing of that nature in the pipeline.”
When discussing the cause of decreasing salmon fry numbers, Martyn was quick to dismiss over-fishing as a major cause, and instead pointed to something else. He said: “We think that it may be related to last years wet and warm winter, we don’t think this is a case of overfishing. The evidence, and again we’re still investigating this, but the evidence points to something to do with climate change. “
The only scheme that NRW currently promotes is a voluntary catch and release scheme.