COARSE anglers are in despair as their rod licence money is not going back to ANY restockings and fishery improvements.

Wales fishing opportunities and development is being held back by changes, according to anglers.

Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh equivalent of the Environment Agency, was created in 2013.

It immediately shut Welsh fish farms with no alternative arrangements put in place.

And NRW refuse to pay into the EA’s flagship Calverton Fish Farm so have zero access to any river coarse fish.

Latest Wales fishing figures show coarse anglers bought 41,321 rod licences in 2017. That produced an income of £1.24 million but not a penny goes back into coarse fish.

Nick Massey, chairman of Ynysmon AA and secretary of the Welsh Federation of Coarse Anglers, commented: “Prior to the creation of NRW we were served by the EA and had access to their expertise and funding.

“Following this a lot of the older fisheries staff were got rid of and their knowledge lost.

“With the closure of their own fish farms, and loss of access to England’s Calverton Fish Farm, stocking of coarse fish has become a thing of the past.

“In north Wales there used to be a sustainable fisheries fund where grants could be obtained but this was abolished so clubs are left to their own devices,” Nick added.

Wales fishing cash reduced

Tony Rees, former treasurer of Merthyr Tydfil AA, said: “There is definitely less money in the system than under the previous arrangements.

“The EA used to have six English Regions with Wales as the seventh and we used to be part of the general funding available.

“Now we have to depend solely on income from licences actually sold in Wales which is proportionately lower.

“While this money is ring-fenced to angling it is difficult to know how much goes on coarse angling and how much on trout and salmon.

“A lot of the money is being spent on removing barriers to migratory fish, and habitat improvement.

“There is still some money in the system but can be difficult to come by as spending is decided upon by district fisheries officers.

“One thing that has ceased is any monitoring of coarse fish stocks by things like electro fishing,” he concluded.

James Davies, treasurer of Connah’s Quay DAC in Flintshire, explained: “Here we have nothing like the Angling Improvement Fund run by the Angling Trust with money from the EA.

“Our club has an excellent mixed fishery called the Rosie Pool stocked with genuine crucians to over 2 lb.

“We have a conservation project for them which has got them breeding successfully.

“We badly need the pegs on the lake replacing but it is proving hard to find any funding towards it.

“Back in 2000 when the pegs were last done, we obtained £6,000 via the EA and were helped by the local council.

“But now this kind of money is no longer available and we cannot afford to spend any more of our own money on improvements – it’s all needed for running costs.

“Coarse fishing has certainly lost out since devolution,” James added.

A spokesman from the NRW told Angler’s Mail: “We chose not to routinely subscribe to Calverton fish production as the species in question are far less appropriate for the rivers of Wales.

“As and when we may need some fish, for example due to a pollution incident and in the event that compensation funds were available, we would consider discussing this with the EA.”

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