Fisheries Byelaws Consultation 2021 - River Usk and River Wye in Wales

Closes 11 Oct 2021

Opened 19 Jul 2021

Overview

The current byelaws which implement catch and release on the River Usk for salmon at all times and for any sea trout caught before the 1 May; and on the River Wye for all salmon and sea trout at all times, are due to expire on 31 December 2021. This could end any requirement to release rod caught salmon and sea trout in the two rivers (with the exception of sea trout larger than 60cm on the Usk).

These byelaws need to be renewed and updated to ensure that stocks continue to be adequately protected. This is to ensure that those fisheries that continue to exploit these stocks do so in a sustainable manner to support stock recovery as quickly as possible.

The most recent assessment of our salmon stocks indicates that the Usk stock is currently ‘Probably at Risk’ and the Wye stock is ‘At Risk’ of failing to achieve their management objectives (in 2020), and both are predicted to be ‘Probably at Risk’ in five years’ time (in 2025).

The status of salmon as designated features of both the Usk and the Wye Special Areas of Conservation is classed as unfavourable.

Furthermore, NRW has serious concerns over the status of juvenile salmon stocks, particularly in the Usk catchment where numbers have not recovered since the crash in 2015/2016.

The most recent assessment of our sea trout stocks indicates that the Usk stock is currently ‘At Risk’ of failing to meet its conservation limits and is predicted to remain ‘At Risk’ in 2025. The Wye stock is currently ‘Probably At Risk’ of failing to meet its conservation limits, and predicted to still be as such in five years’ time.

What are we consulting on?

This is the statutory consultation on proposed new regulations that are designed to protect salmon and sea trout stocks in the River Wye in Wales and the River Usk:

  1. River Wye Rod and Line (Salmon and Sea Trout) (Wales) Byelaws 2021; and
  2. River Usk Rod and Line (Salmon and Sea Trout) Byelaws 2021.

This consultation runs for 12 weeks until 11 October 2021.

Note that this consultation only refers to the River Usk and the River Wye in Wales, with consultation responses made to NRW.

The Environment Agency will consult separately on their proposals for the River Wye in England, and responses on that consultation, which will start in September and run for 4 weeks, must be directed to the Environment Agency.

Our proposals

We are seeking representations to proposed new byelaws for rod fishing for salmon and sea trout on the River Usk and on the River Wye in Wales. These byelaws, if confirmed, would run until 31 December 2029, and be synchronous with the end of the existing ‘All Wales’ and ‘Cross Border’ byelaws.

River Usk

  1. Salmon

Statutory catch and release fishing at all times.

  1. Sea trout

Statutory catch and release fishing before 1 May.

River Wye

  1. Salmon

Statutory catch and release fishing at all times.

Salmon fishing season to run from 3 March to 17 October for the whole of the River Wye and all the tributaries of the River Wye.

  1. Sea trout

Statutory catch and release fishing at all times.

NRW is working with the Environment Agency on a technical case and new rod fishing byelaws for the Wye, to ensure there are equivalent byelaws for the Wye in both Wales and England. This would ensure a consistent catchment approach for this cross-border river.

Read the Executive Summary - Usk and Wye byelaw proposals

Read the Usk and Wye byelaws Frequently Asked Questions

Read the Technical case for Usk and Wye byelaw proposals

Read the Technical case Annex 1 Salmon stock management system

Read the Technical case Annex 2 Sea trout SR stock assessment

Read the Technical case Annex 3 Usk and Wye juvenile salmonid monitoring

Read the Technical case Annex 4 Cross Border Rivers (England) Byelaws 2017 Confirmation Statement

Read the Technical case Annex 4 Cross Border Rivers (England) Byelaws 2017

Read the Technical case Annex 5 Assessment of management options

Read the Usk rod and line (salmon and sea trout) byelaws 2021 signed and sealed

Read the Wye rod and line (salmon and sea trout) byelaws 2021 signed and sealed

Why we are consulting

We want your views on our proposals, and also any relevant evidence that might support a need to modify the proposed measures that we consider are necessary to protect salmon and sea trout stocks.

We want to hear your thoughts on our salmon and sea trout stock assessments, the status of salmon stocks and our proposed regulations to protect stocks. Please provide evidence that you believe is relevant to justify any comments you make, and which may justify the need to modify, strengthen or relax the proposed measures.

You may choose to respond to the questions on either the Usk or Wye separately, or on both rivers together.

If you wish to provide further evidence to support your response here, please email this to us at fisheries.wales@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk and include your unique ID (supplied at the end of the consultation).

Give us your views

Areas

  • All Areas

Audiences

  • Fly-fishing
  • Cockles
  • English
  • Anglers

Interests

  • Fishing