Fishing with nets and traps

Find out what licences you need if you are fishing for eel and elver, or netting salmon and sea trout with nets or traps

Net and trap fisheries

There are a variety of net and trap fisheries around Wales. Salmon, sea trout and eel are targeted in estuaries and coastal waters.

Natural Resources Wales regulates net and trap fishing for migratory and freshwater fish using a combination of fishing licences, Net Limitation Orders, authorisations and byelaws

Eel and elver fishing

There are currently around 50 eel and elver fishermen across Wales. Because of concerns about stocks, eel fishing is restricted to those who are existing fishermen and have held a licence/authorisation since 2008.

Authorisations to fish for eel and elver will continue to be issued after 1 April 2013 by the Environment Agency on behalf of Natural Resources Wales.

Find further information and application forms on the Environment Agency's website

Salmon and sea trout net licences

Salmon and sea trout are caught using a range of nets and traps. These include compass nets, draft nets, hand nets, wade nets (including lave nets) and coracle nets.

We regulate these fisheries using a combination of fishing licences, Net Limitation Orders and fisheries byelaws.

Removal of non-native and native crayfish

We are responsible for authorising the removal of non-native crayfish and licensing the removal of native crayfish in Wales. The native white-clawed crayfish is a protected species.

We do not authorise fishing for non-native crayfish, but occasionally we authorise trapping for research purposes. We recommend you discuss your proposals with us before applying for authorisation by completing an application form.

Signal crayfish

Signal crayfish are listed as a species of concern under the Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019.

Any activities associated with the management of species of concern, require a licence from us.

Read more about the licensing requirements when dealing with signal crayfish.

Or contact us to discuss your proposals.

Further information

For further information please contact us on 0300 065 3000 or email

Related document downloads

Form CR1: Application to trap and/or remove crayfish Application to trap and/or remove Crayfish PDF [89.4 KB]