Latest assessments by NRW (Natural Resources Wales, the successors to Environment Agency Wales) indicate that, after a few promising years to 2010, salmon stocks in the Tawe are declining and are classed as “at risk”.
The numbers of salmon caught in the Tawe in recent years (and numbers and percentages released, in brackets), according to catch returns, are:
2013 - 72 (25, 35%)
2012 - 65 (24, 37%)
2011 - 109 (37, 34%)
2010 - 230 (105, 46%)
2009 - 113 (45, 40%)
2008 - 195 (63, 32%)
2007 - 183 (74, 40%)
2006 - 184 (72, 39%)
2005 - 164 (50, 30%)
2004 - 155 (50, 32%)
2003 - 61 (8, 13%)
NRW have produced this chart which shows that the “conservation limit” (CL, red line) has not been met for the last three years and that the trend (black line) appears to be a decline.
The chart for the previous year is here…
A detailed explanation of “conservation limits” and the methodology involved can be seen here…
If the yellow band is wholly above the red CL line, stocks are classed as “not at risk” and responsible exploitation is OK. If the red CL line is within the bottom part of the yellow band , stocks are “probably not at risk” but care has to be taken. If the red CL line is within the top part of the yellow band, stocks are “probably at risk” and NRW look for options to let more fish spawn - the main options being increased catch and release or strict bag limits. If the yellow band is wholly below the red CL line, stocks are “at risk” and NRW look for immediate options to stop the killing of salmon, eg through mandatory 100% catch and release (as on the Wye and Taff currently) or the closure of a fishery.
To date the catch and release rate for salmon on the Tawe has been modest, compared with other rivers. Throughout England, for example, C&R is around 75%. NRW are therefore asking clubs and others who control fisheries to promote further voluntary measures to increase the number of fish that spawn, before the need for more drastic action becomes necessary.
Please exercise restraint in 2015 and practice catch and release.
The chances of survival of a released fish depend on how it has been handled. If you handle a fish properly, you can be very confident that the fish will have the greatest chance of going on to spawn. Catch and Release is one of the most effective ways in which Anglers can contribute to the future of their sport. Please follow the guidelines in this new leaflet produced by the NRW and leading angling bodies. Bear in mind that the tackle you use and the way you play the fish are as important as the way in which you release it.