News, Issues and Discussion



In this section you can keep up to date with all of the latest news, UFA meetings and events concerning the UFA and the river Usk, with the most recent updates appearing at the top of the page.

Read on or click the links for each section

News | Issues | Access | Biosecurity | Catch and Release | Fish-Eating Birds (FEBs) | Poaching | Tidal Lagoons | Water Abstraction

News

Click here for the latest news.

We have also transferred some important external news items from the beginning of 2013.

4 February 2015: Potential tidal lagoon at river Usk mouth: Not only are there plans to develop a tidal lagoon around Swansea, but also there is recent news that a tidal lagoon could be built by mouth of the river Usk!  For more information click here.

3 February 2015: Usk salmon stock status 2014: Here is an article by one of our members, Guy Mawle, which isn’t good news.

9 December 2014: With winter fast approaching the Wye and Usk Foundation,  in conjunction with the BBC, have put out a news report on the loss of top soil due to heavy rains and the soil erosion that follows with its impact on the life cycle of the trout and salmon. This is the link for the report:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30206631. It highlights how the loss of top soil impacts the farmers’ profits and how siltation impacts on life in the rivers.

16 January 2014: Hatcheries in Wales

14 April 2013: A salmon caught when being filmed!

3 April 2013: Communications regarding Rivers Usk and Wye Monitoring Programme

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Issues

We have selected some issues that are of some importance to the Usk catchment area.  These are likely to change over time.  A good number of the issues relate to creating viable waterways for the flora and fauna in the Usk catchment.

Some background …

The River Usk and tributaries is a European Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and under UK Law a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and in both these cases are ‘At Risk’ — and in some areas failing under the Water Framework Directive, Habitats Directive and Migratory Fish Directive. The Usk and its tributaries are under (i.e. not meeting) the conservation limit set by these Directives. In the ‘state of nature report’ (Welsh Government Report) they are recorded as failing.

There are many aspects to the creation of good habitat for migratory fish – and other living fauna and flora.  They include:

  • abstraction,
  • pollution,
  • Fish Eating Birds and
  • access.

Anglers and owners have little to no control over any of these because they are Welsh Government (WG) and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) remits. Many have not been revised in the past 25 years to take into account the changed circumstances.   UFA is hoping abstraction may at last be addressed in 2015.

What anglers and owners have some control over are fishing practices and biosecurity.
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Access

The issue of access to both land and water in Wales has been developing over the years, with heavy lobbying taking place particularly by Canoe Wales.  In June 2010 the Third Assembly’s Sustainability Committee published a report on its Inquiry into Access to Inland Water. The report can be seen here (PDF 491KB)…

In 2013 SACC — Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru – was instigated, which is a coalition of organisations and individuals that support a common sense approach to public access to land and water in Wales.  This is to benefit both users and landowners, and to provide better value for money for stretched public funds. The organisations and individuals are united in the belief that the current legal framework already balances the rights of landowners and conservation with the desire for access.

For more information about the access issues and the current status of the discussions do go to http://www.accesscymru.org/index.html.

If you wish to support this campaign, you can in two different ways:

  • financially by donating to SACC: please go to http://www.accesscymru.org/donations.html. You can either send a cheque or pay online. Payments will be received by Angling Trust and funds will be ring-fenced for this purpose only.  A record of income and expenditure will be available to all donors on request and will be published with the Angling Trust’s annual accounts next year.

You may also read some information about what has taken and is taking place as follows (also available under ‘News’):

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Biosecurity

See separate page
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Fishing Practices

Catch and release of salmon is one of the ways anglers can support the preservation of salmon stocks.  At present it is done on a voluntary basis – and this may easily change! Please read this Catch and Release’ leaflet that describes the best way to releasing salmon back into the water.

UFA members took the exceptional and remarkable precedence to introduce a range of further voluntary measures to try and safe guard and enhance migratory fish stocks within the catchment.

What can be done by the owners and fishermen/women has now been voted in at the 2014 AGM. These include:

  • Maximum 1 or 2 fish to be taken by any single fisherman/woman year round or total catch and release
  • No Worming
  • Spinning only in high water
  • No treble hooks
  • Single barbless hooks on fly and bait
  • Size 10 hooks or smaller for bait
  • Use of catch and release nets (less damage to released fish).

These measures introduced voluntarily by the Association are unique in Wales. Owners, clubs and associations will put these measures in place. It is hoped that Welsh Government and NRW will deal with the other key issues quickly and effectively to safeguard the river environment and the hundreds of jobs in the river catchment.

The vote was unanimous with particular emphasis that the River Usk and its tributaries is a vital economic tool for rural development and sustainability.  Without a strong and vibrant habitat, many businesses including B&B’s, hotels, guides and ghillies would suffer. Fish stocks are depleting rapidly and measures need to be taken.

16 June 2015: NRW Press Release: Anglers  called on to release all salmon and more sea trout
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Fish Eating Birds (FEBs)

In this new section, we intend to provide the most updated information surrounding FEB’s particularly on the River Usk. If you feel you have information that is pertinent to this matter, please get in touch.

4 Nov 2014: FEB License

5 March 2013: Angling Trust report on FEBs

Angling Trust has a couple of articles about FEBs, which may be of interest to you.  Here are the links:

July 2013: Angling Trust team hails breakthrough over cormorant problem

March 2013: European reports highlight scale of cormorant impact on fish
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Poaching

Fishing without permission and the theft of fish are criminal offences – with which the police are duty-bound to deal.  UFA recommends that you follow the following procedure if you witness poaching.

PROCEEDURE IF YOU WITNESS AN INCIDENT OF POACHING

If confronted by poacher’s, illegal fishing, do not ’ get involved’. If they refuse to leave, dial 101 explain the situation and report that you feel ‘THREATENED’ or ‘INTIMIDATED’ by their presence which more often than not is the case.

If you have been assaulted or threatened with violence then telephone 999.

Don’t forget to give your correct details, organisation you are with and location. If you see a vehicle record the number, make and model, you could take a photo of the vehicle this may or may not be used in evidence. It is also useful to have your OS grid ref, and if possible the postcode of the area you are in and the nearest road number, ie A4042.

Always keep a pen / pencil and paper handy.

If there is no threat or you don’t actually see anyone but you suspect a certain vehicle may be involved, record the details and telephone 0800 807060 later, it is all good intelligence for the NRW (Natural Resources Wales).

For a copy of this advice click here.

The Anglers Trust guide has far more detail.  You can download this guide from:

http://www.anglingtrust.net/page.asp?section=1038&sectionTitle=Guide+for+Anglers+Reporting+Offences+to+the+Police
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Tidal Lagoons

Not only are there plans to develop a tidal lagoon around Swansea, but also there is recent news that a tidal lagoon could be built by mouth of the river Usk!  For more information click here.

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Water abstraction

Wye and Usk Foundation (WUF) has an article that outlines the background to water abstraction from both Usk and Wye rivers.  Water abstraction from these rivers are connected, so it is a useful article to read.

In addition, WUF has written about the review of consents to abstract here.
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Discussion

Join the discussion

Have something that you'd like to say? why not join the UUFA and get in on the discussion

 
 
 

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