NEWPORT politicians have thrown their weight behind a campaign to help keep lave net fishing in Gwent going.

For the first time in their history, Severn Estuary lave net fishermen had to cancel what would have been the start of their centenary season, amid rows with Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

The Black Rock Lave Net Heritage Fishery site remains closed due to fishing restrictions put on them by NRW, and by August 31 the fishermen will have missed a whole season.

NRW says it is concerned about salmon stocks and how the fishing might affect them, but Black Rock secretary Martin Morgan said the eight fishermen take an average of five salmon a season between them, adding if things continue as they are, the legacy of the tradition will be gone.

Now, Newport East MP Jess Morden and MS John Griffiths have visited the site to better understand the issue at hand.

Speaking to Ms Morden and Mr Griffiths, Mr Morgan said: “It has never been just about the lave net fishing, we’ve tried to promote this fishery as a tourism heritage site.

“It’s been a massive success story and sadly as I speak the fishery is closed. We’ve agreed to fish limits which are sustainable in our view.

“NRW have decided our catch is not sustainable and we have therefore had to close the fishery. We are trying to fight that.”

Mr Griffiths said: “It seems the fishery is under dire threat because of these new restrictions. It really is a great shame and it seemed to me there was a recognition that lave net fishing was in a different category to other fishing in that it is a tradition. It seemed it was about keeping this going, not just for the area but worldwide.

“It now seems there’s been a change in mindset and the true nature of the fishery isn’t appreciated anymore.”

Ms Morden spoke about the “amazing history and tradition” of the site, and backed the campaign to keep the site open.


“We want Lesley Griffiths (minister for environment and rural affairs) to look again at this unique fishery.”

NRW south east operations manager Jon Goldsworthy said: “We have offered to licence the netsmen this season as long as they return any salmon they catch. Unfortunately they have chosen not to take up these licences.

“We are continuing discussions with the fishermen about the practicalities of returning their catch, welcoming further dialogue so we can better understand their concerns regarding the ‘fairness’ of these restrictions, and to find a way to secure the future of the fishery, while protecting the sustainability of salmon stocks for future generations.

South Wales Argus:

Jess Morden and John Griffiths speak to Martin Morgan

“We recognise that it’s a small number of salmon caught by the fishermen. However, every spawning fish matters and even relatively small additions to the spawning stock can make a big difference in improving numbers”.

Mr Morgan says the group hope to present the petition to the Welsh Parliament shortly.

The petition has so far been signed by 4,608 people. You can find it at