Emergency byelaws which will protect salmon stocks after current byelaws expire have been made by Natural Resources Wales.

The current National Salmon Byelaws, which have been in place for 20 years to protect early-running spring salmon, will expire on December 31.

The new emergency byelaws, which come into effect on 1 January 2019, will replicate the current level of protection for salmon stocks until a decision is made by Welsh Government following the Local Inquiry on NRW’s application for the introduction of more protective catch controls.

Peter Gough, NRW’s principal fisheries advisor, said: “It was our intention that the new catch control byelaws would be in place by now to protect salmon and sea trout stocks.

"However that hasn’t happened and the expiry of the current National Salmon Byelaws would lead to less protection for early-running salmon.

“The levels of protection for both salmon and sea trout in 2019, as things are, would be some way below that which we deem necessary and there can be no certainty when new catch control byelaws may be introduced. This places stocks at further risk.

“To combat this, we are implementing emergency byelaws which will maintain the current level of protection of our salmon stocks and retain some protection for sea trout.”

The emergency byelaws require:

nclose season for net fisheries ends on 31 May, except for those net fisheries dependant on sea trout (Tywi, Taf, Severn, Teifi and Dyfi) and which have been operating under a dispensation – which will continue;

nthe release of all salmon caught by nets before June 1;

nthe release of all salmon caught by rods before June 16;

nno bait fishing for salmon before June 16.

Peter added: "The salmon and Welsh sea trout are truly iconic fish."