Fishermen denounce NRW’s claims that seals ‘have no effect’ on salmon
FISHERS struggling to maintain a centuries-old tradition in the Severn Estuary said Natural Resources Wales (NRW) statement that seals in the River Wye “are having no effect” on salmon stocks is “unbelievable”.
Members of Black Rock Lave Net Heritage Fishery have worked the waterways of the Severn Estuary for years.
Recently, they have been in talks with NRW about the catch and release conditions that have been put in place to help salmon stocks rebuild.
The fishermen of Black Rock Lave Net Heritage Fishery, for example, have long debated with NRW the implementation of this rule.
The fishermen have said that such a rule could spell the end of their boat.
âNRW’s latest mantra is that every salmon counts,â said Black Rock Fishery Secretary Martin Morgan.
âDespite our calls and offers to limit our maximum catches to five salmon per season to keep our old fishery alive, NRW rejected the offer.
“The fishery and everything around it is dying.”
Mr Morgan says he and the other fishermen “have no problem” with the seals in the estuary, but claims that the animals have no effect on salmon stocks are “unbelievable.”
However, he said, “when they are allowed to settle and multiply in the river system, it will always pose problems for the salmon stock.”
âFor NRW to say no is frankly unbelievable,â he said.
âTo say that we are a threat to the salmon stock and then to say that the seals are not is selective.
“They bury their heads in the sand, as evidenced by the many photos of seals eating salmon.
“If seals killing lots of salmon aren’t a problem, why are we deemed to be when we catch a few in the estuary?”
“Or are our fishermen much easier to control?” ”
NRW said the seals are “a natural feature of the Wye Estuary and are often seen there”.
âIt’s an example of nature in action,â said a spokesperson.
âThe seal is in its natural range.
“This is not an indication that salmon stocks are declining or recovering.”
âThere are two types of seals around the British Isles: the harbor seal and the gray seal.
“They are on the IUCN red list for endangered species, gray seals are protected by the Habitats Directive and the Seal Conservation Act.”