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Cantref Reservoir – Magazine Report

Dec 7, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments
Autumn Sport Beacons (1)

This article was written by Ceri Thomas for Total Flyfishers Magazine, which unfortunately will be closing after the next issue.  Ceri works for Fishtec please follow the link for all your fishing tackle requirements


Cyfarthfa Park

Dec 4, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

I popped in to see Dia Odd Socks this evening and he was telling me that he had a tremendous day on Cyfarthfa Park Lake fishing Peg 29 he landed 12 bream and 2 crucian carp on the method feeder.


Dec 2, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments
Xmas 2017

To view all pages use the arrows in the left hand bottom corner

Why Feeding Bread to Ducks is BAD

Nov 22, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

Many birders were first introduced to the joys of wildlife by feeding ducks bread at a local park or pond. While we may have thought this was an environmentally responsible and cute way to dispose of old or stale bread, offering bread to ducks is actually unhealthy and potentially dangerous for the birds.
What Bread Is to Ducks
Bread and similar products such as crackers, chips, crisps, donuts, cereal and popcorn are great sources of carbohydrates but they offer little nutritional value for ducks, geese, swans and other birds.
In fact, bread is the equivalent to junk food for birds. Like humans would suffer from a diet of nothing but candy, too much bread can lead ducks to excessive weight and malnutrition as well as many other problems.
Offered in extreme moderation, bread is not immediately harmful to ducks or birds, but that moderation is hard to judge. While one family may only feed the ducks once every few months, there may be many other families and individuals who are feeding the ducks bread far more frequently. This can lead to a diet based almost solely on unhealthy bread products. Environmentally conscious birders will refrain from offering any bread or bread-like products to ducks to avoid nutritional problems and other issues caused by a carbohydrate-rich diet.
Why Bread is Bad for Ducks
Not only can bread be fattening to ducks and make it harder for them to fly and otherwise evade predators, feeding ducks bread can also lead to other serious problems.
Duckling Malnutrition: Ducklings require a varied diet and plenty of natural plants and insect proteins to mature properly. If ducks are regularly fed bread, ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. Furthermore, because ducks will eagerly seek out an easy food source such as human handouts, ducklings will not learn to forage for natural foods as easily.
Overcrowding: Where an easy food source is abundant, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases the likelihood of territorial aggression. In overcrowded areas, predators can also thrive and will impact other bird populations, and diseases can quickly spread through large flocks as well.
Pollution: When too much bread is offered to ducks, not all of it will be eaten. Soggy, uneaten bread is unsightly and rotting bread can create noxious odors as well as lead to greater algae growth that can clog waterways and crowd out more desirable plants. This concentrates the pollution and can eventually eradicate fish, amphibians, crustaceans and other life in the vicinity, making good food sources even scarcer.
Diseases: Feeding ducks bread can increase the spread of diseases in two ways. First, a carbohydrate-rich diet leads to greater defecation, and bird feces easily harbor bacteria responsible for numerous diseases, including avian botulism. Second, moldy bread can cause aspergillosis, a fatal lung infection that can decimate entire duck and waterfowl flocks.
Pest Attraction: Rotting food leftover from sated ducks will attract other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans and threatening to other wildlife.
Loss of Natural Behavior: When birds become accustomed to handouts, they lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive in order to get more food. Their loss of fear can also cause other dangers, such as a willingness to cross busy roads in order to reach picnickers and other likely sources of food.
What to Feed Ducks Instead of Bread
Wild ducks and waterfowl can live longer, healthier lives by relying on natural food sources such as aquatic plants, seeds, grasses and insects rather than taking handouts from well-meaning humans. If you still want to feed the ducks – and doing so can be an enchanting experience – there are many healthier alternatives to offer instead of bread.
Great foods to feed ducks include:
• Grapes (cut in half to prevent choking)
• Cracked corn, barley, oats, birdseed or other grains
• Frozen peas or corn kernels (defrosted first, but no need to cook)
• Duck feed pellets available from farm supply stores
Don’t Waste Bread
For many people, feeding ducks bread is not only a way to interact with wildlife, but it is also a handy way to dispose of old, stale bread. There are many other useful ways to dispose of unwanted bread, however, including…
• Adding bread to a compost pile to create mulch and fertilizer for bird-friendly landscaping
• Trying stale bread recipes such as bread pudding or homemade dressing and stuffing
• Toasting stale bread for homemade croutons, bread crumbs or garlic toast
Of course, the best way to use up stale bread without feeding it to ducks is to avoid having any leftover bread in the first place. Bread can be easily frozen until needed, or birders can monitor their menus and shopping to ensure there are no leftover products that would be tempting to feed to ducks.

Thank you for the information

AGM 8th November 2017 – Report

Nov 19, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments



Minutes of the 52nd Annual General meeting at the Ex-servicemen’s Club on Wednesday 8th November 2017.


The Chairman opened the meeting at 7.30pm.


Mr Paul Bowen (Abergavenny)


The minutes of the last Annual General Meeting held on 8 November 2016 were read and accepted.

    • A Rees reported that although there had been mentions of the introduction of car parking charges on a number of occasions by the body managing Cyfarthfa Park no concrete proposals have been made.
    • With regard to minute 3.3 of the last AGM in respect of who to contact to report poaching incidents it was confirmed that it should be to National Resources Wales bailiffs on their hotline number 03000 653000. NRW cards bearing the number were available in this meeting for members to keep.
    • The Chairman reported that a fruitful meeting had taken place with the local Police but since then there had been no contact from them because, we believe, due to staff changes by them
    • Mr A. Rees reported that the formation of a new company was now progressing quickly and a favourable outcome is anticipated.
    • There has been no model boat activity on Cyfarthfa Lake for several months due to the ill health of their organizer. Also there were several arising from their activities such as going out of bounds and on one occasion damage an underwater gabion basket placed in the lake by us.
    • The Association has continued to oppose open access by canoeists to inland waters, but the final outcome of any decisions by the Welsh Assembly appears as far away as ever.
    • The Chairman circulated details of salmon catches on our waters from 1984 to date, which showed a fairly level line on a graph, although a decline in numbers caught this year meant a reduction in the value of the Association by £50K. Also a large reduction in the number of salmon entering the River Taff has been seen by NRW.



In accordance with the previously agreed policy of improving the natural quality of Brown Trout fishing on our River Taff system the number of farm reared fish was reduced to 250 10” – 12” trout this year.  Since the reduction of farmed trout being stocked a significant improvement in the size and quantity of fish has been noted.  From 2018, for a period of 3 years no farmed fish will be introduced.  Cantref received a stocking of 600 rainbow trout.

Our coarse lakes and ponds were stocked with 375lbs of mixed silver fish from Redhill Farm plus 500 Bream, 250 Perch, 280 Gudgeon plus Roach and Rudd were shared between New Pond Penywern and Cyfarthfa Lake.  Also 100 small Crucian carp were placed into the small ponds at the rear of the Castle to bring on for possible transfer to other ponds when larger and more mature.  No coarse fish are contemplated for Fish Pond Penywern due to uncertainty of the works proposed for the A465 duelling


The pollution problems of the Taf Fechan above Cefn Bridge is now close to being resolved.  It has been found that 13 properties in Lakeside Gardens have connected waste producing appliances to the surface water drains instead of the soil system.  Also a location in Prince Charles Hospital has similarly been misconnected.  To rectify the situation the Local Authority has issued statutory notices to put matters right.

An oil leak occurred at the Llwyn Onn treatment works which lead to contamination of the River Taf Fawr.  Initially Welsh Water who own the plant denied the leak was from their plant but later admitted liability.  The leak was on-going for several weeks before being rectified although it is not thought to have caused lasting damage.

There were a number of reports of large amounts of discoloured water entering the river opposite Caedraw Flats over several weeks.  Investigations by our members and Natural Resources Wales pinpointed the source to be the development at Trago Mills and action was taken to stop the problem successfully.

Another form of pollution has been the spread of alien species the American Signal Crayfish which was initially only in Cyfarthfa Lake but is also now being seen in both Penywern Ponds

Litter is also a major polluter of our waters with large amounts being regularly cleared from Penywern Ponds which can be mostly attributed to anglers.  There has also been numerous incidents of dumping along the river from Blue Pool down through Cefn Lido, the Fire Station, Effi Astics, Troedyrhiw and Aberfan.  Culprits have included Merthyr Council workmen who cut up a fallen tree and dumped it into the Taf Fechan above Cefn Bridge.  Discarded line left by an angler in Cyfarthfa Lake lead to a cygnet having to be captured after having swallowing a hook and becoming entangled in the line.  This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened and members should be a lot more careful when in the vicinity of wild life.


This year saw the 50th Anniversary of the Association and to celebrate this an event was held in the function room of Merthyr Tydfil Football Club.   More than 100 members and guests attended including our new President Sir Roger Jones OBE and the Mayor of Merthyr Tydfil.  Entertainment was provided by the Tenovus Choir an excellent buffet was served.  Steve Charleston did a collection on the night for Tenovus and over £380 was raised.  The highlight of the night was the honouring of Malcolm Williams, Brian Walkley, Gary Davies, Tony Rees and Graham Davies who were made life members of the Association, the 5 have been members of the Committee for the whole of the 50 years of the clubs existence and also were members of Merthyr and District and St Tydfil Angling Association, before the amalgamated to form Merthyr Tydfil Angling Association.  The committee are grateful to Rhys Evans and Nigel Morgan for organizing the event.


Poaching and illegal fishing of Association waters continue to be a major problem with bailiffs dealing with numerous incidents.  Particular problem areas are Penywern Ponds, and the River Taff at Weir Pool in town, Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Vale and Aberfan, discussions have taken place with NRW bailiffs.  Also Welsh Water bailiffs ejected 4 poachers from Cantref.


The Committee continues towards the formation of a new holding company to protect its assets but it is a very complex issue and consequently taking a long time to progress.


The committee have been in discussions to become involved with the development of a coarse fishery as part of a land reclamation scheme near Hirwaun.  It is a large site which already has several ponds which could become an excellent facility but will need significant investment.  These discussions are at an early stage.

Earlier in the year the Committee agreed that in future juniors of 9 years and under could fish our waters free of charge when accompanied by our adult members.

Merthyr Council have agreed to a model boat club having use of an area of the Park Lake, which was agreed by ourselves.  Subsequently they did make some use of the water but caused several problems like going out of bounds and in one instance caused damage to one of our gabion baskets.  Currently the situation of their status on the Lake is unknown.

Also in the Park, the Association has been making a lot of use of the new extension to the model railway building particularly in tutorial sessions with both younger and older anglers.  On one occasion we were grateful to members of the Welsh Fly Fishing Teams who came along to pass on their expert knowledge.  The building is proving an excellent base for our coaches who continue to work tirelessly to help the development of angling in our area and beyond.

Work has been undertaken to try to rectify the long standing problem of water leakage from the Park Lake.  Unfortunately the efforts made have proved unsuccessful.

In the last AGM the Chairman mentioned that the Welsh Assembly Government had agreed to include a footbridge o link both ponds at Penywern.  This can now be seen on a video showing the new road from Dowlias Top to Hirwaun (and back) also briefly shown are images of both ponds.  It can be seen by entering “A465 section 5” on Facebook and scrolling down to the appropriate items.  The work is currently scheduled to start in late 2019 and Tony Rees has been liaising with the consultants managing the scheme for several months, although things are still very much up in the air as to programme and exact route near Fish Pond.

Welsh Water have introduced a catch and release rule for Talybont and members are requested to abide by this.

Natural Resources Wales are still consulting on the proposed introduction of catch and release for migratory fish in Wales.  The Association will continue its opposition to these until all factors of why here has been a decline in salmon stocks has been considered, for example the greater control of fish eating birds such as cormorants and goosanders.


In 2017 we again sold the same number of Permits but our turnover was down slightly as we increased our sales to Senior Citizens and I was slightly disappointed as quite a few new senior members did not re-join:

The proposal is for all permits to remain at the 2016 prices: at £60 for all seniors £35 for Senior Citizens and leaving the Juniors, whose membership was a very marginal increase on 2016, at last year’s prices of over 12 £20 and 9-12 years £15. Under nine will be free as long as A Senior member or Senior Citizen is a member.

During 2017 we have again received a Sports Council Grant of £1,500. This will be used to fund a new Level 1 Coach as well as pay for the use of the new Railway building on Cyfarthfa Lake that we are using for coaching. We ran Coaching /demonstration classes in the Spring and Autumn and they could have been better attended. My thanks go out to the coaches for supporting these events.

We are still in discussion with Merthyr Council regarding our lease. Currently they are carrying out a survey of the waters they own.

In 2017 I again kept our funds in three banks NatWest, Hodge Bank Cardiff and Hampshire bank. NatWest interest is abysmal but as we spend through the year from that account we need to keep it.

On Grant Funding as well as Sport Wales we have been lucky to secure a Coaching Grant of £4.5k from Natural Resources Wales and one of £4.5k, from them as well, for fishery improvements.

I would like to thank Keith Jones, Malcolm Williams, John Coombs, who have been generous with their time in turning out to help us keep our waters litter free and sympathize with them on the continual need to have to do this when much of the litter is angler related. I must mention the help that our two youngest committee members our Secretary Rhys Evans and Tom Payne together with a newest addition, he is also having one himself Jonny Walker. They have been helping the oldest on the committee to improve both our lake in the park and Top Pond.

In 2017 we were again awarded the Green flag for our work on Top Pond Penywern. We thank Keith Jones and the team who help when Keith is away for helping us to get this award. I can also inform you that we have been short listed for a Keep Wales Tidy Award for the way we keep Penywern.

I have three tickets so I have asked Keith and Malcolm to come to the Award ceremony in Cardiff on the 20th November.

On the Newsletter side my only wish is that more members would send in more information to John Coombs and myself and that more members would register with Rhys the Secretary to receive the newsletter we only have 343 on the list.  This is one of our best means of contact. I have asked that we look at the Facebook page to see if we can do better as it looks as though it has stagnated.

Licence applications are already coming in for 2018 both by post and requests on Email.

During the year I was asked to meet with a person from a Group called Sported. There are quite a few organisations like this looking to help organisations like ours. I was asked as the person who approached was interested and keen on the work she has seen us doing at Cyfarthfa Lake with Children. It has not cost anything but I will wait to see how it goes they have accepted us and asked for another meeting. I will invite another to come with me.

Balance sheets are available if you send me and email:

Tony Rees Treasurer

If you wish to see a copy of the Association Accounts for the current financial year please contact Tony Rees on 01685 723520 or


President Sir Roger Jones OBE Sir Roger Jones OBE
Vice Presidents Ron Gover

Geoff Pritchard

Mark Jones

Gareth Harvey

Phil Williams

Ron Gover

Geoff Pritchard

Mark Jones

Gareth Harvey

Dawn Bowen AM

Gerald Jones MP

Chairman Gary Davies Gary Davies
Vice Chairman Keith Jones Keith Jones
Secretary Rhys Evans Rhys Evans
Treasurer Tony Rees Tony Rees
Minutes Secretary Graham Davies Graham Davies
Membership Secretary Malcolm Williams Malcolm Williams
Comp Sec – Coarse Doug Hawkins Doug Hawkins
Comp Sec – Trout Gavin Jehu Gavin Jehu
Ladies Comp Sec Catherine Brown Catherine Brown
IT Officer John Coombs John Coombs
Press Officer Daniel Popp John Coombs
Child Protection Officer Doug Hawkins Doug Hawkins
Child Protection Officer Tony Rees MBE Tony Rees MBE
Child Protection Officer Mark Sweeney Mark Sweeney
Assistant  Junior Sec Mark Sweeney Mark Sweeney
Head Bailiff Steve Charleston Steve Charleston
Pollution Officer Ron Jones Ron Jones
Committee Nigel Morgan

Brian Walkley

David Matthews

John Kinsey

Hywel Jones

Alan Power

Simon Collier

Tom Payne

Jason Payne#

Mark Williams


Nigel Morgan

Brian Walkley

David Matthews

John Kinsey

Hywel Jones

Alan Power

Simon Collier



Mark Williams

Co- Opted Later John Walker

Tom Jehu

John Walker

Tom Jehu

  1. PERMIT FEES 2018

The committee propose that there will be no increase in membership fees or day charges for 2018


There have been no requests from Members in accordance with the 28 day rule nor are there any recommendations from the committee to alter or supplement any rules and regulation this year.

    • Peter Williams pointed out a perceived shortage of small trout in the river. In reply Ron Jones stated that this year it was his experience that there was in fact an increase in the number of small trout showing and a good mix of sizes apparent.

There being no further business the meeting closed at 8.45pm


Top Pond – 17th Nov 2017

Nov 18, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

Dae Couzens fished Top Pond on Friday 17th Nov 17 and waited patiently for 3 bites and landed 3 lovely bream all around 3lbs.  He road tested his new hat as well, it passed!!



Nov 14, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments
Please find ABOVE a petition asking Welsh Government to apply a holistic and truly sustainable approach to stimulating improved and sustained stocks of Salmon and Sea -trout in Welsh Rivers.
This limits risk to our fishing clubs and thus our wonderful pursuit of FISHING.
It is my hope, that if we collectively reach out to all fishermen; fishing clubs and representative organisations; parts of our local economies that could suffer due to draconian fishiery policies, and to the wider community who recognise the adaption that is required in the present environmental management system:
Please sign this petition if you concurr with the measures listed.
Please share this petition with as many contacts (IN WALES AND BEYOND) as you feel able to, to allow fishermen to shape a sustainable future for fishing

Annual General Meeting – Wednesday 8th November

Nov 6, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

The AGM will take place on Wednesday 8th November at the Ex-Servicemens Club Merthyr Tydfil at 7pm sharp.   All members are welcome to attend.


October Newsletter

Oct 27, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

Please follow the link to read our October Newsletter OCT 2017 Club

Our Annual General Meeting takes place on 8th November all members are welcome

Oct 26, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments



Soil Loss

Oct 25, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

This report appeared in the Guardian 24/10/17

UK is 30-40 years away from ‘eradication of soil fertility’, warns Gove

Farmers must be incentivised to tackle decline in biodiversity, says environment secretary at launch of parliamentary soil body

Autumn drilling near Ivinghoe village, Chilterns, Buckinghamshire
 ‘If you drench soil in chemicals that improves yields … but ultimately you are cutting the ground away from beneath your own feet. Farmers know that,” said Gove. Photograph: Alamy Stock Photo

The UK is 30 to 40 years away from “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility” in parts of the country, the environment secretary Michael Gove has warned.

“We have encouraged a type of farming which has damaged the earth,” Gove told the parliamentary launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA). “Countries can withstand coups d’état, wars and conflict, even leaving the EU, but no country can withstand the loss of its soil and fertility.

“If you have heavy machines churning the soil and impacting it, if you drench it in chemicals that improve yields but in the long term undercut the future fertility of that soil, you can increase yields year on year but ultimately you really are cutting the ground away from beneath your own feet. Farmers know that.”

Arguing that farmers needed to be incentivised to tackle both the loss of soil fertility and the decline in biodiversity, Gove said that he hoped the SSA, a new body formed with the mission of bringing UK soils back to health within one generation, would hold the government to account and bring him ideas and inspiration. “We are listening to you now and it’s critical that we do so.”

Gove’s speech on Monday afternoon came as UK farmers anxiously wait to see if Brexit will take them out of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy, and if so, what will take its place. Defra is currently working on a new agricultural bill and is simultaneously drawing up a 25-year environmental plan. Gove promised both would reflect the concerns of the SSA.

There has been a spike in awareness of the impact that intensive farming techniques are having on the world’s soils and its biodiversity. In 2014 Sheffield University researchers said that UK farm soils only had 100 harvests left in them, and a year later a UN spokesperson warned that at current rates of degradation, the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years. “It feels as if soil is now a hot topic,” said Helen Browning, head of the Soil Association. Meanwhile a new German study has revealed that numbers of flying insects have fallen by up to three quarters. Intensive farming techniques that encourage the heavy use of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides are believed to be major factors in these problems.

The UK has a poor record in this area. The government has not been conducting regular soil monitoring since the last Countryside Survey in 2007, and in 2012 UK ministers helped block a critical EU soil health directive. Even a year ago, experts such as Peter Stevenson at Compassion in World Farming felt there was no real appetite for reform of intensive farming.

But environmentalists are now increasingly hopeful that, unlike his predecessors at Defra, Gove will take this issue seriously. In July he said that the UK would not move towards “US-style farming” and would prioritise “high environmental and animal welfare standards”. “There’s been quite a dramatic shift in understanding around what we’re doing to our soils,” said Browning. “Everyone is quite bowled over by some of the comments that Michael Gove is making.”

Michael Gove
 Gove said he hoped the Sustainable Soils Alliance, a body formed to bring UK soils back to health within a generation, would hold government to account. Photograph: Courtesy of NFU

Gove, as one of the leaders of the leave campaign, has a huge stake in making post-Brexit environment and agriculture policy a success, and key farming organisations appear to be shifting their positions on soil issues. The National Farmers Union, who were present at the event, have long been defenders of intensive farming. But three years ago they set up an environment forum, and yesterday its chair Mark Pope said that he is seeing a surge of interest and support for these issues from NFU members. In a blog published on the NFU website earlier in the week, Pope wrote: “We only get one lot of soil on our farms, so poor management could have major, irreversible impacts for many years to come.”

“There is a groundswell of interest in this, a terrific opportunity,” said Rebecca Pow MP, parliamentary private secretary to Michael Gove. Pow was brought up on a farm and worked as a journalist specialising in the environment, food and farming before becoming an MP in 2015, and she has been an energising force around the issue of soil and sustainable farming in parliament. “I voted remain,” she said yesterday. “But nevertheless, there is an opportunity here that we wouldn’t have had before.”

“The UK used to be the world’s leading agronomic centre, and could be again,” argued Tim Smit, the founder of the Eden Project. He wants to see “a new agricultural revolution”, elevating agronomy – the science of soil and crops – to a better respected profession, and turning the UK back into a world leader in soil and farming expertise.

Access – Transcript of Plenary at Sennedd Tuesday 17/10/2017

Oct 21, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments



Please find below the transcript from the recent Plenary session. Questions put to the Minister. A clear indication that the angling lobby can work, we must keep the pressure on and have contact with ALL AM’s.

 Access to Waterways
National Assembly for Wales – Oral Answers – National Assembly for Wales
Mark Isherwood: 4. What assessment has the Welsh Government made of the benefits that access to waterways brings to Wales? (OAQ51188)

Lesley Griffiths: In addition to considering activity tourism and recreation participation reports and strategies, the Welsh Government has undertaken significant public engagement. The recent consultation on sustainable management of our natural resources received around 15,000 responses. All show the value and potential of water recreation activities such as angling and boating and why a resolution to current disagreements is necessary.

Mark Isherwood: Thank you. The September 2017 update on the report ‘The value to the Welsh economy of angling on inland fisheries in Wales’, collated by the Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru, found that under the current arrangement for access to Welsh rivers, around 1,500 Welsh jobs and £45 million in household income is supported by angling on inland fisheries each year. There are 1.7 million days fished on inland fisheries in Wales by licence holders, generating £104 million annually, and that the contribution to the Welsh economy of angling on inland fisheries in Wales must exceed over £125 million annually in Wales. In that context, how do you respond to the concern expressed by Salmon and Trout Conservation Cymru that it would not be in the interest of the ecological integrity of such habitats to move to unfettered access under the proposed extensions of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and that environmental protection is paramount when consideration is given to increased access to the natural resources of Wales, and especially the fragile ecosystems in and around rivers and lakes?

Lesley Griffiths: I think your question lends me to say that it’s really important that you get the balance right, and that’s absolutely why we’ve consulted on such an important issue. You’re quite right, fishing tourism, in both domestic and day-trip visits to Wales, is very important. I think it was about £38 million in 2015. You referred to a report in 2017, but I know in 2015 it was about £38 million per year. I think it also highlights the importance of developing a framework so that we can facilitate responsible access opportunities, going forward.

David Rees: Cabinet Secretary, I have received many representations from constituents regarding this matter in particular, and I think, as you’ve pointed out, there is resolution that needs to come together between the two groups. Now, you’ve just mentioned fishing tourism, but many of our citizens actually enjoy fishing as a pastime, and therefore enjoy the activities they undertake, not as tourist activities, but as part of their spare time. Do you agree with me that, actually, a way of resolving these by coming together and getting an agreement that is voluntary between the organisations is the best solution, not having something imposed upon them?

Lesley Griffiths: Yes, I do, but I think—. You know, when I was a backbencher, this was a very hot topic, and I think the consultation showed it can be incredibly divisive and incredibly polarised, so it is about getting that resolution. We want to see that because it is vital for our tourism. So, I’m hoping that, following the analysis of the consultations and when we come forward with resolutions, we’re able to engage with all the stakeholders to make sure we have the absolute best way forward.

David J. Rowlands: Cabinet Secretary, following on from the comments earlier, I’m sure you’re aware of the potential for conflict that free access to Wales’s waterways may bring between those who use them in differing ways, in particular anglers and canoeists. I would say that David Rees is quite right in that if we can get some consultation between these two groups, that’s the best way forward. Unfortunately, the feedback to me from the angling societies is that there doesn’t seem to be that desire for talking coming from the canoeists.

I’ve been contacted by a number of angling societies, and have had meetings with Isca and Hay-on-Wye, one situated on the river Usk and the other on the river Wye. Both showed considerable concern with regard to canoe activity on the rivers, which, at this moment, is not regulated. One important factor pointed out is that canoes do not carry any form of identification, so any canoeist committing offences or simple nuisance cannot be identified. Does the Cabinet Secretary intend to bring in regulations to make registration and, hence, identification a mandatory requirement? Are there any plans to get canoeists to pay a fee for access to our waterways, as, of course, anglers have to, by way of fishing licences and/or society fees?

Lesley Griffiths: I mentioned in my answer to David Rees that it’s an incredibly divisive issue, and it’s a divisive issue that’s been around for a long time. However, I think this is our opportunity now to get it right. I would certainly want to bring all the groups together. I don’t want to take sides with any group, but if we can facilitate groups coming together, then I’d be very happy to do that. In relation to your specific policy questions around identification and fees, again, that is something that we would have to look at, coming out of the consultation.

Rachel Evans

Director for Wales

Countryside Alliance

Tel: 07825337978 / 01550777997

Join us here



Response to Access Consultation

Oct 4, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

I have uploaded to the Access page several responses to the current access consultation called by the Welsh Assembly Government follow this link to the page


Catch and Release Consutation – Press Release from Plaid Cymru

Sep 25, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

“For immediate release – Friday 22nd September 2017

Fishing industry concerns raised with Government

Plaid Cymru shares fishing restriction fears of Carmarthenshire anglers

Carmarthenshire anglers were the focus of questions in the National Assembly this week as local AM Adam Price raised concerns against
proposals to introduce restrictions on the Towy and Teifi rivers. The proposals from Natural Resources Wales (NRW), which are currently
out for consultation, include a complete ban on bait fishing and a 100% catch and release policy in an attempt to combat dwindling levels of
salmon, sewin and sea trout – moves a number of local angling clubs and associations say will devastate the industry.

Questioning the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Plaid Cymru AM Mr Price told the Minister that the
proposals do not address all of the reasons for these dwindling stock levels, and that many anglers believe Natural Resources Wales is only
looking at the easiest target.

Responding to the Carmarthen East and Dinefwr AM, Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths noted that the fishing industry is worth £100million
to the Welsh economy, and agreed it was vital that the views of local fishers were taken into consideration.

Speaking after his question, Adam Price AM said:

“I have been contacted by several angling clubs raising their concerns about the negative effect that the NRW proposals – most notably the
complete ban on bait fishing and a 100% catch and release policy – will have on their clubs. Fishing isn’t just a hobby, of course. It is a
vitally important industry in my constituency, and across Wales.

“Pollution, changes in the seas and birds of prey all have an influence in the dwindling stock numbers of these fish. Local anglers therefore
see the NRW proposals as the easiest solution to a problem that has many more contributing factors.

“My question to the Cabinet Secretary was to emphasise that anglers have very real fears and want those fears heard right at the heart of

“Natural Resources Wales must look comprehensively at all causes of dwindling stock levels and not just target anglers.”

Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Jonathan Edwards added:

“Most if not all anglers and their societies have voluntary catch and release policies. They know the value of stock levels to the long term
sustainability of their hobby and industry.

“It is imperative that the Welsh Government doesn’t allow anglers to be the easy target by Natural Resources Wales. Simply targeting anglers
without looking at all contributing factors is a sticking plaster solution and will do little to get to the heart of the problem. I can assure local anglers and their associations that we will be keeping a very close eye on these proposals to ensure they are fair and proportionate.”

Chairman’s letter to WAG re Access and also Angling Cymru Letter to WAG, Canoeist response and Fish Legal/Angling Trust response

Sep 25, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments


I appreciate a few of you have already rec’d the attached. As you will see it is in response to the Welsh Gov who wish to pass your rights onto others with no recompense to us.
The letter was written to the best of my ability and with certain aid from other quarters such as Tony and a solicitor friend. I believe that a letter has been sent from the rivers trust, whether any of you have seen fit to write to Welsh Gov on this subject I do not know.
There is a letter from Angling Trust which I shall send to you separately for your consideration and discussion.
Be assured the will of government is to allow free and unfettered access to ALL waters whether river or still water (ponds). So if you have done nothing so be it.
As you can see this matter is NO JOKE!

Mr. W.G. Davies:       Chairman.                                                       3 Blanche Street,

E                                               Dowlais,

Merthyr Tydfil.

CF48 3PE.

01685 371981.




Ms Lesley Griffiths AM.  AC.  Environment Secretary.


Mr Carwyn Jones              AM. AC  First Minister

Mr Andrew R T Davies    AM.  Leader Welsh Conservatives.

Ms Leanne Wood             AM.  Leader Plaid Cymru.

Ms Kirsty Williams         AM. AC.  Leader Welsh Lib Dems.

Mr  Niel Hamilton           AM.  Leader UKIP

Ms Dawn Bowden            AM.

Ms Janet Finch Saunders AM.


Dear Ms  Griffiths,


Having read through the consultation document on ACCESS I feel the need to contact you with my particular interest in the property rights of the owners of inland water.

I have written to you in the past about this subject so I see no point of repeating myself on principles, but to address a different but related matter.

I presume you are aware that Ms Jane Davidson put in being the Splash fund which in total amounted to £2.5 million, the aim of which was to enable the paddlers and anglers to negotiate an ACCESS agreement across Wales. This started well with a trusted person as main facilitator (Andy Schofield) of Natural Resources Wales. Unfortunately  he left and the facilitator went under the auspices of Matt Strickland (also of NRW) and it seemed he was assisted by an officer of Canoe Wales.

On the face of things it would appear that the fund was administered fairly, apart from the fact that NO negotiations ever took place, At the end of the life of the fund, Matt Strickland finished with the NRW as did the Canoe Wales officer leave his post?

A short while afterwards, I requested freedom of information on the Splash Fund. The report was glowing (naturally) until the report was read and made suitable for examination. Also I obtained a document from Afonydd Cymru which outlined the method of discussion with round table participants. The result in my opinion indicates that there are some contentious issues regarding the way the fund was used.

I have read the full report and the only mention of access to rivers, access being either the provision of an access and egress point with permission , was by the Wye Usk Foundation. I cannot find any evidence of any negotiations over access (the ostensible purpose of the Fund in the first place), but I found many thousands of pounds for the purchase of BOATS, BOAT TRAILERS, ERECTION OF SLIP WAYS IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT, WEEDING A LAKE. The list goes on. (Copy available)

On this basis why are your Civil Servants still bending over backwards to insist that there is a need for more access of all kinds needed in Wales.

This leads me onto the fact that Welsh Government requested/demanded that Dwr Cymru made their reservoirs available to paddlers. That company complied with this and provided launching points on certain reservoirs (Pontsticill  was one) but with the provision that the paddlers paid a fee which could be had from Brecon Beacons National Park. I was privy to the fact that one year Dwr Cymru was paid £1500, this by adventure groups. No private group/person was recorded using the facility. The question. “Why no usage by canoes”, was put to the canoe executive at the Cardiff workshop. His response was, “People will not use the reservoirs because of the restrictions placed on them”. What a shame considering other users must follow the rules laid down (example – yacht club) by the company, and of course pay for the privilege.

At no point since 2010 has the Assembly followed through on the report that passed that it carried out certain measures to improve access. It now transpires that it is felt that the taking of property rights from ordinary people ie Fishing Rights is the way to go. At no time has there been any analysis or constructive dialogue with the owners and it appears that the taking of property rights something akin to what has happened in third world countries is now going to be a policy in Wales. Thousands of people(of all ages) did not  invest their money, time and labour;  for government to take and give away (to approx  1200 Welsh members plus some 2000 affiliated members of Canoe Wales) their rights.

Please note my Association MERTHYR TYDFIL AA (membership of approx 800 members – junior and senior) owns some 80 acres of land and 20 miles of salmon, trout and coarse fishing rights and freely gives access (after 50 years of hard work – also we upgraded approx 2 km of the Taff Trail) by revocable invitation to the public individually, so long as they individually respect our nature reserves. As for access we look for the common courtesy to be asked to use our facilities, in other words an access AGREEMENT which has been sought BY Anglers/Owners and Welsh Government since the inquiry in 2009/2010. Unfortunately one side would NOT talk.

There have been a couple of agreements (Coleg Gwent) and from information received there was a possibility for more if groups had not been coerced not to take part due to loss of insurance.

I was fortunate to attend every session and I can recall one of the committee stating to canoe Wales that they wanted everything and all for NOTHING.”

Which is entirely different when considered that anglers pay for rent/lease/purchase and maintenance of banks and footpaths?

I was also privileged to receive an embargoed copy of the 2009/10 inquiry findings.

Welsh Government is prepared to fund the paddling group despite the fact that there are in excess of 1.2 million?? (So we are told UK wide). With that number surely a modest amount would suffice to restrict the public monies given on an annual basis (£200k minimum pa to canoe Wales). I also find it strange that there are NO magazines available to paddlers ( I have trolled magazine shelves for months and not found any) whereas angling has a plethora to choose from, as do all other sporting activities,, which indicates a good profit to be made in the trade. Why not canoes? Perhaps they cannot afford the purchase price.


How unfair that Wales is to be turned into a “COLLECTIVE THEME PARK”, and the rights of a sizeable section of the Welsh electorate in every part of Wales trampled upon; in the name of what? Whatever it is, it’s oppressive and not worthy of a Labour administration.

Yours Faithfully

W G Davies   (Gary)

Chairman MTAA

Angling Cymru Letter to Welsh Assembly Government


Dear Sir.

I am concerned as Chairman of Angling Cymru about information now coming to light regarding the Splash Funding for Access to Inland Water set up by Jane Davidson when she was Environment Minister until 2011.
I sat on the Round Table discussion Group that was set up, and the setting up of the splash fund was billed as a way of getting voluntary access agreements on Inland water. At that time, and it still is, there is only a one way street in respect of access agreements in that riparian and fishery owners are struggling to find any group that respects the need for access to be shared.

My concern in looking at published figures is that other than exemplar agreements such as the Wye Usk and some on inland lakes and reservoirs the funding seems to have been spent on many questionable projects that had no bearing on the original setting up of the fund.

Tony Rees MBE

Chairman Angling Cymru

Paddlers Response

Angling Trust and Fish Legal Response to the Proposals
























European Eel – Petition please sign from Wye Usk Foundation

Sep 25, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

European Eel Populations in a Parlous State
Friday 22nd September, 2017

Last week we sent out an e-news urging you to respond to a Welsh Government consultation on open access to our rivers. This week, it’s a petition to DEFRA, the UK government and the European Union for a precautionary short-term closure on the commercial export of internationally-endangered European juvenile eels taken from their home waters.

The Severn estuary has long supported a commercial fishery for elvers – juvenile eels migrating from their birthplace in the Sargasso Sea. In some years the amount taken from the estuary has been as high as 50 tonnes. Most elvers are destined for far eastern markets where they are a delicacy, with over 300 million of them exported there in the past few years from UK waters. In the same period, a further 300 million have been exported to Scandinavia, Russia and other European countries for stocking purposes. And these are just the legal catches.

European Eel populations have fallen by 95% over the last 25 years. This year’s elver fishing season ended in May with the total catch from the Wye (part of the Severn estuary fishery) amounting to just 1 kilo. In the Lugg and Arrow catchment, two eel traps caught 187 silver eels (migrating adults) in 1988. Since then there has been a steady decline with the traps catching just 2 eels between them in 2014 and nothing in 2015.

This worrying situation has led the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to place the European Eel on their red list. However, licences to catch elvers for export are still being issued by the Environment Agency.

This species has been part of our aquatic landscape for millennia and they are crucial to the ecology of our rivers. Eels are an important food source for many predatory fish, along with aquatic birds and mammals such as otters. Without them, these predators will put more pressure on other prey species and/or decline in numbers themselves.

On Tuesday next week, WUF trustee Tony Norman will be delivering the petition to No.10 Downing Street. In the meantime, we urge everyone to support him by signing it. Also, please encourage anyone you know to sign it too.

All the best from WUF.

The petition can be found here.


Senior Competitions 3rd and 17 September

Sep 19, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

Result for 3rd September on Sophies Pond Redhill Fishery

1st Jason Woodford 154lbs 4oz

2nd Clive Jayne 110lbs

3rd Doug Hawkins 104lb 12oz

Result for 17 September on Cyfarthfa Park Lake

1st Clive Jayne 41lb 11oz

2nd Dave Couzens 17lb 12oz

3rd Jason Woodford 4lbs 10oz

Sustainable Access Campaign

Sep 7, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments
Dear Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru Supporter, 

As agreed by the core SACC team I am forwarding the link to the Countryside Alliance’s e-lobby response to Welsh Government’s consultation “Taking Forward Wales” with specific reference to Chapter 4, Access.



View e-lobby


The letter opposes some aspects of the proposals particularly the proposal to allow open access to all inland water in Wales. Please do sign the e-lobby which is sent directly to the response team, the Minister as well as an Assembly Member. If you do not reside in Wales, there will not be the option to copy to an Assembly Member however your support still counts. 

Please pass this on to those you think will support and encourage everyone to sign. Share with friends and social media, twitter and facebook, spread the message far and wide. Individual responses to this consultation are also extremely important, please do take time if you can, to write personally to the response team. 

In the meantime, please do sign and promote the e-lobby. 

Thank you sincerely for your support, it is vital that the numbers in support are far greater than the last consultation so sign today, it is more than achievable when we all stand together. Thank you. 

On behalf of SACC 

Rachel Evans

Director for Wales, Countryside Alliance


Ladies Comp on Top Pond 6 Aug

Aug 8, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

The ladies competed at Top Pond on Sunday 6th August.

1st was Dawn Jones with 22lb 9oz (consisting of 1 common, 1 mirror, tench, roach and  6 bream, (see picture below)).

2nd Kath Brown with 7lb

3rd Janice Farr with 3lb 11oz

Event on the Canal at Brecon

Aug 8, 2017   //   by Merthyr Tydfil Angling Alliance   //   News  //  No Comments

This is a message from the owner of Great Outdoors regarding an event which included canoeing, cycling and running along our stretch of the canal at brecon, please be aware.

This is just to let you know that we are holding a multi-discipline challenge event from Brecon on Saturday 2nd September 2017. Between 10:00-16:30 there is likely to be more runners / cyclists than normal using the towpath between Brecon and Talybont-on-Usk. And during the same period participants will be kayaking on the canal between the following two points…

  • Western / Northern extent of kayaking – Brynich Turn Bridge (Bridge #162) Nr Aqueduct & Brynich Lock Grid Ref SO 079 271
  • Eastern / Southern extent of kayaking – Court Farm Liftbridge (Bridge #155) Nr Pencelli Grid Ref SO 091 251


These details are provided so your members know in advance about our event, and can plan accordingly if they should wish to do so.