8th January 2018

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Environment Agency is taking to secure the stocks of salmon and sea trout along the coast of West Sussex; and into which rivers those stocks commonly run.

Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment: The Environment Agency (EA) enforces byelaws to ensure that fish stocks remain healthy. These byelaws prevent the sale of rod and line caught salmonids, provide a close season during spawning and encourage fish to grow to adulthood by imposing minimum size limits for retained fish. There is no licenced net fishery along the West Sussex coast.

The EA is also conserving and enhancing salmon and sea trout stocks by sharing resources with regulatory partners and by supporting communities, landowners and fisheries representatives. This includes conducting patrols with the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) to protect fish stocks from illegal plunder. The Sussex IFCA is reviewing legislative measures for protecting migratory fish, subject to consultation.

The EA’s work with partners also includes improving fish passage and habitat by planting trees to provide protective shade for fish and by constructing fish passes, such as on the River Ouse at East Mascalls. Through improving water quality the Environment Agency aims to maximise fish spawning success and is working with the Sussex Flow Initiative to address pollution from diffuse sources.

Young salmon (or parr) were seen for the first time on the River Ems in West Sussex during the EA’s 2016 fish survey. This is testament to the collective impact of this work.

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