THE Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust (GWCT) Wales has spoken out over the continual declines in water quality and depleted fish stocks across Wales which is now at a record low.
Talking at a dinner organised by the conservation charity at Mostyn Hall, Holywell, thanks to the kind permission of Lord Mostyn last week (Thurs 14 Mar), GWCT’s head of fisheries Dylan Roberts reminded the audience of the once vibrant salmon and sea trout stocks that sustained Welsh rivers just 20 years ago.
“This not only indicated the health of the rivers but boosted the rural economy significantly,” he stressed.
Dylan cited the River Tywi in Carmarthenshire as one of the examples, which was the premier sea trout river in the UK catching between 6,000 to 10,000 sea trout every year.
Official figures by Natural Resources Wales (NRW), who collate rod catch data, has revealed anglers only caught 877 sea trout in 2017 which prompted them to return 75% back to the river.
There has been a steady decline in the numbers of sea trout returning to our rivers since the late 1990s, with 21 out of 23 salmon rivers in Wales now classified as ‘at risk’ or ‘probably at risk’ by NRW.
“As well as pressures on salmon and sea trout stocks at sea, there is a huge concern in our rivers - which provide the nursery grounds - from increased man-made pollution and sedimentation from a number of different sources, GWCT is working with - as wide as possible stakeholder group - to research and implement practical solutions to recover the health of our rivers,” added Dylan.
GWCT Wales director Sue Evans said: “Implementing good habitat managements of both our landscapes and rivers result in healthy numbers of fish stocks and birds.”
For more information about GWCT’s work in Wales, visit https://www.gwct.org.uk/wales/
Notes to editors
The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust – providing research-led conservation for a thriving countryside. The GWCT is an independent wildlife conservation charity which has carried out scientific research into Britain’s game and wildlife since the 1930s. We advise farmers and landowners on improving wildlife habitats. We employ 22 post-doctoral scientists and 50 other research staff with expertise in areas such as birds, insects, mammals, farming, fish and statistics. We undertake our own research as well as projects funded by contract and grant-aid from Government and private bodies. The Trust is also responsible for a number of Government Biodiversity Action Plan species and is lead partner for grey partridge and joint lead partner for brown hare and black grouse.
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