New bye-laws in Wales have been put in place to protect increasingly vulnerable and threatened socks of salmon and sea trout.

This means that all salmon caught by rod and net fisheries must be released alive with minimum injury and delay, as of January 1 and will be in place for 10 years.

To also protect sea trout, measures have been introduced as well, meaning all rod-caught sea trout over 60cm must be released alive.

New controls on angling methods will improve the survival of released fish so that they can contribute to spawning stocks, with the only exceptions the cross-border Dee and Wye rivers.

Here, work with the Welsh Government will continue to confirm new rod fishing bye-laws in the next few weeks.

Peter Gough, principal fisheries advisory for Natural Resources Wales (NRW), said: “All of our salmon stocks are in serious trouble and have fallen to historically low levels.

“The same is true of the majority (70 per cent) of our sea trout stocks.

“Over the past five years, we have engaged in a thorough process to set out the evidence to justify introduction of new fishing regulations to help protect these vulnerable stocks.

“After an inquiry that explored the evidence, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs approved new rod and net fishing bye-laws to help protect these iconic fish.

“Even relatively small numbers of fish are crucial to recover stocks in as short a time as possible. Every spawning fish matters.”

In addition, and as required by the Minister, NRW continues to work with our partners and Welsh Government to identify and address the range of pressures damaging stocks.

Peter added: “We firmly believe that the new byelaws, along with a range of other urgent measures such as tackling agricultural pollution, improving water quality, improving habitats and managing potential threats from predators, are vital for the future of salmon and sea trout in Wales.

“We want to work with the fishing communities and all with a stake in our river environments to protect our fish and fisheries for future generations to enjoy.

“The byelaws will be a positive step in helping protect stocks.”