The Environment Agency has launched an action plan to safeguard salmon stocks in the Severn Estuary.
The plan, one of a series being produced for all major salmon rivers in England and Wales, is the first of its kind in the UK created specifically for an estuary. The aim is to boost salmon numbers and improve local fisheries.
Salmon stocks are under threat in many rivers in England and Wales with some, such as the River Wye, at an all-time low. Unless swift action is taken, salmon numbers may decline even further and fisheries in these rivers may disappear.
These latest conservation measures are being introduced by the Environment Agency as part of a National Salmon Management Strategy.
Salmon caught by commercial fishermen in the Severn Estuary are returning from the sea to spawning grounds in a number of rivers that flow into the estuary including the River Wye, where poor stocks are causing concern. This ‘mixed stock’ nature of the estuary makes it difficult to single out salmon from one of the rivers for protection, so any measures taken in the estuary are particularly important to safeguard salmon numbers.
An additional factor considered in the Severn Estuary Plan is the cultural value of the salmon fisheries, as some of the methods used are unique to the estuary.
“Our primary concern in drafting this action plan has been to achieve a balance between the need to preserve the traditional skills in use on the estuary today and to ensure that there are sufficient fish for tomorrow’s fishermen to catch. We are confident the measures we recommend will help reverse the decline we have seen in recent years,” said Steve Thomas for the Environment Agency.
* Leaflets in English and Welsh, containing a summary of the Action Plan proposals, can be obtained from the Agency’s Customer Services in Tewkesbury (01684 850951), St Mellons (02920 770088) and Bridgwater (01278 457333).
A copy of the full Plan is available in English for reference at Agency Offices in Tewkesbury
, Bridgwater and St Mellons.
The Severn Estuary Salmon Action Plan covers the tidal reaches of the river as far downstream as Hurlstone Point (near Minehead) and Nash Point (West of Barry on the
Welsh Coast
The main proposed actions in the plan are:

  • To reduce exploitation of Wye salmon by targeted closure of parts of the estuary fisheries
  • To limit the number of licences issued in the rest of the estuary fisheries
  • To review the mixed stock nature of the fisheries in relation to their cultural value.

The progress of the plan will be monitored and reported on annually.