Wednesday, 27 October 2021

 

Five-year average given this years 310 catch has crashed to 562.

Worst since 2003 and a decline of 32% over last year.

Lowest rod catch in living memory.

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What that says about NRW and WUF I'm not sure.  Well I  do but don't wish to go WUF bashing again.!!

They have never in my opinion, as some of you might have gathered, ever lived up to the propaganda they often put out.  Perhaps some good things were done and perhaps the situation could have been worse?  Who knows but surely it's time they took stock and instead of working in semi secret, declining to co- operate with others, refusing to listen to the salmon anglers themselves, seeking assistance from probably those better qualified then perhaps they might just see the reality of the situation with some humility.

As for the trustees I suggest the same applies. They have overseen whats gone on over the years, some of them with long service.  As intelligent businessmen which some of them are surely they can see the result of the enterprise over the years, its massive budget and distinct lack of results they would not tolerate in their own enterprises.

Surely its time to take stock. Re vamp WUF so it works together with everyone else. Takes NRW to task and fights our corner rather than seeking funding anywhere to maintain their jobs.

Doesn't look like there will be a WUF AFGM this year - why would they?  No doubt covid will be the reason given.  We shall see.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

 Below is a reply I received recently from Sophie Gott NRW

It sets out the NRW stocking stance which is the one I thibk we all know,  Plus the rationale, or lack of it regarding survival of returned fish in the latter part of the season.


 

Thank you for getting in touch regarding the Usk and Wye byelaw consultation. I can confirm that this 3 month long consultation closed on the 11th October and so I am unable to include your comments. However, as you are aware we have had a representation made which does raise the question of closing the Usk and Wye on the 15th September, so your views are hopefully represented in that.

 

At the start of this process, we liaised extensively with the Local Fisheries Groups on both the Usk and the Wye. We considered and assessed all of the suggestions made by both groups, it is worth noting that at no point was the suggestion made by either LFG to shorten the season. The informal and formal consultation processes were both open and transparent and we looked at every representation made. We try to ensure that what we propose are carefully considered measures based on solid evidence, that protect the fish stocks whilst recognising our duty to protect and enhance fisheries.

 

We fully agree that the salmon stocks on the Usk and Wye are declining, hence our proposals to re-implement C&R and to remove the additional week at the end of the Wye fishing season on the upper river above Llanwrthwl bridge and the tributaries. We also appreciate that there are conservation gains to be had in closing the rivers early. However, we do not agree at this point that there is sufficient will to shorten the season. Catch and release fishing, with the method restrictions imposed under the ‘All Wales’ and ‘Cross Border Rivers’ byelaws to improve survival of fish post release, will help ensure fisheries can continue whilst promoting stock recovery and maintaining much of the socio economic value of those fisheries.

 

You state that the figures for “saved” fish make no sense. I have attached a document which sets out how these figures were calculated to help to clarify these for you. The estimates of fish saved are calculated from a 5-year average (2015-2019) of the fish caught after 15th September, and allowing for the fact that a certain percentage of these would die post release (please note that the 20% post release mortality includes a 10% figure for natural mortality, the truer figure for fishing mortality post C&R is about 10%). The proportion of fish caught in this last month is calculated for the whole river and tributaries, and not just the upper beats.

 

I have attached a water quality note that we created for the consultation, which may be of interest to you.

 

Regarding your point on stocking. NRW concluded in 2014, after a technical review and public consultation and taking account of expert advice, that it would not carry-out or permit to be carried out stocking of salmon and sea trout in Wales. The review concluded:

  • That there had been no new evidence brought to our attention that might amend the conclusions set out in our initial review.
  • That there is an increasing resource of publications and new evidence to substantiate our position that the stocking of salmon and sea trout poses a threat to wild populations.
  • That stocking is potentially damaging to populations, as removing adults from the wild for hatchery broodstock depletes the resource of potential wild spawners, leading to the depletion of the resource of fit and adapted juveniles.
  • That stocking represents a risk to the maintenance of local populations and their adaptations to existing and future conditions. This is because, in hatcheries, adult fish are selected for mating crosses that would not otherwise occur in the wild leading to potential loss of specific adaptations and fitness. Contribution to wild spawning by hatchery-derived adults represents a similar risk to population fitness.

The principle under which we manage migratory salmonids in Wales must be to protect, through best-practice scientific management and the ecosystem approach, the sustainability and productivity of wild salmon and sea trout stocks. It is apparent that this an emerging policy position in many North Atlantic countries.

 

On your point on the lack of Navigation Officers, I would refer you to the Environment Agency as the lead body for navigation on the River Wye. The matter of disturbance of angling by canoe activity is one that should rightly be referred to the statutory Wye Navigation Advisory Committee.

 

Regards

Sophie Gott

 


Monday, 25 October 2021

 Been off the air or as couple of days due to a computer problem which was quickly fixed by   

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I see from the WUF site that they sold a ticket to someone from Newcastle Emlyn  to fish the middle Irfon on the last days of the season 24th/  Says it all really.

The below letter from a decent MP may give a better understanding of the way things are and how they think.  No quick fix that's for sure.

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"Thank you  for contacting me about the Lords Amendments to the Environment Bill which was voted on last week in Parliament.

This contained a number of measures to deal with the problem of sewage entering the river system in England. I fully understand the concerns everyone has about sewage flowing into rivers. I am an open water swimmer myself, as are my children, so I have a personal interest in this matter.

The historical background is that the current sewage and drainage system was built in Victorian times. Waste water from rain is channelled into the system alongside waste water and sewage from households and businesses.

 This is usually channelled into purification plants to be cleaned before flowing back into the river system. However, when there is heavy rainfall, too much water enters the system and water pressure builds. If the water pressure reaches a certain level, then this mixture of rainwater and sewage would, if not dealt with, flow back up the pipes and flood into people’s houses. Obviously, this cannot be allowed to happen so before that stage is reached the water companies ease the pressure by releasing untreated waste water directly into the river system. This means that sewage enters the river system. It is diluted because this only happens when there is heavy rainfall, however it is still unacceptable.

 This has always been the case but in recent years the sewage discharges into the river system have increased. This is because of the increase in population size and in extreme weather this has put extra pressure on the sewage system.

The UK Government have decided to address this issue in England (it has no say over what happens in Wales). The Bill means that Government will be drawing up a plan to reduce sewage discharges and the Environment Agency and water companies based in England will report regularly on discharges. Water companies in England will have to monitor storm overflows and publish notification of the overflow occurring and ceasing within 1 hour of operation. Water companies will also be required to monitor the water quality upstream and downstream of the discharge. The government is to publish a report by 1 September 2022 setting out the actions required to achieve elimination of sewage discharge and the cost and benefits of doing so.

 Completely resolving the problem of sewage discharges would require rebuilding the sewage system and I have heard Ministers suggesting this could cost between £150 and £600 billion pounds and take many years. For comparison, the Government spends around £160billion on the NHS in England every year. Obviously once we have more data and costs then further measures can be taken.

 If MPs had voted last week to immediately ban any discharge of sewage into the river system, then any heavy rainfall would have led to sewage flooding back up the pipes into people’s homes. It would have been grossly irresponsible to do this.

 In Wales, the sewage management and discharge is carried out by Welsh Water who answer to the Welsh Labour Government. Water quality monitoring is carried out by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) who are also answerable only to the Welsh Labour Government. The UK Government have no say on these matters in Wales. At present it is not clear whether the Welsh Labour Government intend to follow the measures put in place for England. They are certainly about to end sewage discharges for exactly the same reasons as the ones which I have set out.

 It is disappointing that a number of Labour activists in Wales have taken to social media to suggest that last week Conservative MPs “voted to pump raw sewage into the rivers.” It would be just as accurate (or inaccurate) for me to put out messages stating that “Labour MPs have just voted to pump raw sewage into your house.”

The issue is complicated and is being addressed in England by the Conservative Government.

 Political activists with a dislike of the Conservative party will continue to try and suggest that Conservatives “vote to put sewage into rivers”. Those who genuinely want cleaner rivers, and I am certainly one, will try to develop a fuller understanding of the arguments and call for practical actions from both the Welsh Labour and UK Conservative Government.

 It would be helpful if those who genuinely care about river quality now demand similar action from the Welsh Labour Government.

 Thank you again for taking the time to contact me on this very important issue.

 Regards,

 David TC Davies MP

Member for Monmouth

16 Maryport Street

Usk

Monmouthshire

NP15 1AB


Friday, 22 October 2021

 Las ofthe HTV Wales reportson the Wye last night with a representative from Welsh Water.

Hebasically waffled thoughout the interview and basically had nothing to offer.  Why would he when our'green' MPs voted in Parliament not to increase any measure on water authorities to clean up their act despite the rhetoric.   A complete shambles.

Thursday, 21 October 2021

 

2 nd installment last night of the HTV Wales investigation into the river Wye pollution.   A chicken farmer and the NRU rep was present and both were interviewed with the expected result.    Its not us Gov.  We are cleaner that clean   No chance either to actually look inside the chicken shed and view the mayhem going on in there.  May be another episode tonight perhaps.

Sam programme showed a group of cold water swimmers in the river Taff of all places rejoicing in the benefits of Cardiff sewage.   Couldn't make it up really could you.?

No sign of WUF center stage again either!!   To busy getting grants for farmers to try and persuade them to do what they should be doing anyway.  Does anyone check the results of this exercise?

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

 

Great programme from ITV Wales yesterday evening regarding our river with more to come apparently.

Credit where it due to WSA and Stuart Smith and tTevor Hyde who both appeared on the programme.Lets hope the forthcoming episodes really lay it on the line.

https://www.itv.com/news/central/2021-10-19/itvnews-investigation-environment-river-pollution-whats-killing-the-wye  

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This below from Sophie Gott   NRW re fish saved by ending season on 15th Sept.  You guys who fished to the bitter end note the estimated 20% death rate of returned fish/!!!   Owners returns are always higher than individual licence returns?

"River Wye – end salmon season 15th September

Gain to the stock from proposed measures – approximately 64 fish

To determine the stock saving, the average number of fish caught after the 15th September (2015-2019) was calculated from the licence returns. An estimated 20% of these would die post-release, therefore, 20% of that catch would be saved by not fishing after 15th September. This number was factored up to account for the under reporting on licence returns.

The average proportion of the total rod catch that is caught after the 15th September is calculated to be 32%. No account is taken of where in the river that these fish are caught, these numbers reflect catches for the whole Wye and tributaries.

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Having spent millions on a pass for ascending shad at Diglis weir on the Severn the cash happy EA are now apparently making at elver pass at Tewksbury wier.  What a waste of money.  My experience has always been that given a trickle of water or even good dampness elvers can get wherever they want.  Always have, always will.    No cash  for the salmon though apparently.



Sunday, 17 October 2021

 

Well a few more fish felt the steel yesterday and a few more ego's satisfied.  Season ends today of course, well for most anyway.  Wonder if the upper river redds or the Irfon ones will now get some attention!!

Seems to be a trend developing, especially below Hereford of purpose built fishing canoes with people stoppin off wherever they like and out come the spinning rods   No one out there in the way of bailiffs to stop them of course.  Anyone ever seen one of the two NRW  Navigation Officers out on the river.  That would be a No then.