Update on future of coracle fishing following Welsh Government inquiry on changes to fishing bylaws

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20 July 2019

Press release from the Carmarthen Coracle and Netsmen's Association - 17 July 2019

In January this year, an inquiry was held on behalf of the Welsh Government to examine the All Wales Salmon and Sea Trout Byelaws.

Yesterday (16th July 2019), Lesley Griffiths - the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs - published her report, which can be viewed by clicking here.

As you have shown your support to the Carmarthen Coracle and Netsmen’s Association, we would like to keep you updated with the outcome of the Inquiry and what impact it has on the Carmarthen Coracle.

In her report, the Minister has decided to make all salmon catch and release.

Also, the coracle season for the Towy/Carmarthen has been reduced from 5 months to 3 months (previously 1st March to the 31st July - as of next year it will be 1st May to the 31st July).

We agree that our Welsh rivers are in a worryingly poor condition and fast, appropriate action needs to be taken before fish stock vanishes completely. With two slurry spills in the River Towy over the past week alone, this doesn’t bode well for the environment and little wonder why the river faces its lowest ever stock of fish.

Carmarthen Coracle and Netsmen’s Association have always abided by the strict regulations set out by National Resources Wales (NRW). We, as an Association, can only hope NRW police and enforce even stricter regulations, penalties and legal action on those who continue to pollute our rivers.

The restrictions implemented on all river fishermen are understandable. However, until issues are resolved with commercial trawling on fish feeding grounds and agricultural and industrial pollution on the rivers and tributaries, the restrictions announced yesterday will have little impact.

Needless to say, we are also deeply concerned what effect this will have on our heritage. Coracle fishing will no longer become viable as each year we have fewer participants to ensure our legacy survives.