Thursday 2nd November 2017 - A little sport - and what I think of the NRW!

I'm still here! Although I always think of September and October as the best months for sport and foraging, this year has been very patchy. Gales, and too much water in the river, put paid to river fishing, bass fishing and several sea-fishing trips. We didn't even get any mackerel this year, so I haven't done much smoking yet - though I do have a few trout and sea-trout in the freezer so we'll have some "smoked salmon" for the winter.
I've been busy working on my annual catalogue - it is being mailed today, so should be landing on your doorsteps in the next day or two. This, plus a succession of flyfishing fairs have further curtailed my opportunities for sport. However, now the catalogue is out of the way I intend to be out as much as possible with dog, gun or rod. Llynlloedd Shoot has been taken on by a commercial shoot operator. The one good thing about that is that it now has a full-time keeper and plenty of birds - and they have a need for beaters and pickers-up, so I'll be there at least once a week. We have our first keenly anticipated shoot in Llanbrynmair on Saturday.
Not only have I been under siege from the weather and pressures of work, but I feel that I am under personal attack by the interfering officials of Natural Resources Wales who, ignoring the advice and experience of anglers and sportsmen, intend draconian changes to the life of country people in Wales. First they closed the hatcheries, which had helped us through the bad days of acidification and pollutions, maintaining stocks of sea-trout throughout our river  catchments. Stocks of salmon and sea-trout have always fluctuated a great deal, but they remain strong on the Dyfi, Dee, Severn and other rivers of North and Mid-Wales. Despite this I am told that NRW intend imposing a complete ban on the taking of salmon in Wales, as well as restrictions on angling methods, ignoring the voices of anglers. This will mean the end of the small angling clubs of Wales, who fish, mostly with worm and spinner, the tributaries of rivers like the Dyfi. Farmers will lose any income, because we aren't going to pay for something can't use, and the tourist industry will suffer correspondingly. And if there are no anglers on the river, who is left to care for and police the waterside environment?
The officials of the NRW also have it in for shooters. Our wildfowling club have been instrumental in conserving the small population of Greenland white-fronted geese on the Dyfi estuary for the past forty years, not least through a voluntary ban on the shooting of all grey geese in the area. It has been the efforts of some of our member that have kept this issue in the news, ensuring funding for important conservation and monitoring work. Now this has back-fired on us as the NRW, again ignoring consultation, have imposed a restriction on most of our shooting area to prevent disturbance of the few remaining Greenland whitefronts. They have ignored requests from the wildfowlers and BASC, meaning that we are going to have to resort to the great expense of taking them to court.
My politics (not usually discussed here!) are liberal and socialist, but I really resent the efforts of these bureaucrats to destroy the sporting traditions of people in Wales without any real discussion with those most closely involved. Not only are they seriously impinging on my way of life, but they are doing their best to ensure that the old ways of field sports and angling will be wiped out for ever.

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