SEEING a salmon in the river Wye might be a thing of the past in as little as ten years' time - with conservationists warning of a species "apocalypse".

The Wye Salmon Association have laid bare their concerns over the state of the river as the fishing season looms.

The new Wye salmon fishing season opens on March 3, against what the WSA have called "a dire warning" from Natural Resources Wales (NRW) that, without drastic remedial action, the river will be devoid of salmon in ten to twenty years’ time.

The WSA say they have warned the authorities about such a situation "many times" over the years.

In a statement, they said: "Salmon are at the heart of the biodiversity of the Wye Valley.

"Without them, the populations of many other species of all types will continue to crash."

They cited NRW Wales Fisheries Forum, held online on January 31, which concluded "Atlantic salmon and sea trout in Wales are declining at unprecedented rates and predictive modelling indicates that many populations may be threatened with extinction within two decades if current conditions remain".

The forum suggested that efforts which may reverse this include removing constraints such as fishing.

“Their efforts, to date, to achieve this recovery are an abject failure,” Stuart Smith, chairman of the WSA, said.   

South Wales Argus:

“Over the last twenty years an estimated £20 million has been spent.

"Their proposals are more of the same and clearly this is not an answer.

“NRW reigns over the Wye, one of the most environmentally classified rivers in the UK (SAC and SSSI status) which is also one of the most polluted rivers in the UK.

"Salmon stocks, a key indicator species, have been declining for more than two decades, with no signs of a reversal.  The 2021 season recorded the lowest salmon catch in the river’s history.

“We are facing an apocalypse for Wye salmon.

"They are overseeing and effectively encouraging the potential extinction of the salmon in the Wye.”

Ben Wilson, principal fisheries advisor for NRW said: “In order to help inform our understudying of, and response to, the pressures salmon face in Wales, we have commissioned an evidence report to into the genetic and demographic risks that small populations face.

"We will be publishing this report shortly.

“NRW is committed to protecting and restoring our salmon stocks in Welsh Rivers and our Salmon and Sea Trout Plan of Action’sets out the comprehensive  steps we and our partners are undertaking to address the many pressures that salmon and sea trout face.”