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Salmon and sea trout stocks in Wales

Adult stock assessment procedures

Following the advice of International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO), Conservation Limits and associated Management Targets have been used to assess the status of salmon stocks in England and Wales since the early 1990s. This approach was enshrined in a Ministerial Direction in 1998 which, among a number of actions, required Conservation Limits to be set and used to assess stocks annually on our 23 principal salmon rivers in Wales. We have recently extended this approach to our 33 principal sea trout rivers. 

Salmon

A summary of our approach to stock assessments and the annual (2018) salmon stock assessment can be found in the documents linked below. 

  • All salmon stocks are currently assessed as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the management target
  • Salmon as a feature of 4 N2K SAC sites are all classified as ‘unfavourable’
  • Nationally and Internationally, salmon stocks considered to be “at lowest level ever” (NASCO and AST) 

Sea trout

We have also developed our approach to include sea trout assessment is based on compliance with Conservation Limits using methods equivalent or identical to those used on salmon. Such methods were first applied to sea trout in 2016. A summary of our approach to sea trout stock assessments and the annual (2019) sea trout stock assessment can be found in the documents linked below.

  • 33 main sea trout rivers, 29 (88%) of stocks assessed as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ only 4 (12%) are ‘Probably not at Risk
  • We have seen a marked decline in stocks across Wales, sea trout in south Wales are giving most cause for concern 

A more comprehensive annual report on the status of salmon stocks and fisheries in England and Wales - including compliance with Conservation Limits – has been produced jointly by Cefas, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales; see:

Assessment of salmon stocks and fisheries in England and Wales in 2018 

Assessment of salmon stocks and fisheries in England and Wales (background report)

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