A PROFOUND sense of sadness is prevalent in the lower Teifi Valley after the end of a way of life dating back many hundreds of years.

Seine net fishing in the river estuary, which was introduced in 1118 by French monks at St Dogmaels Abbey, has been an integral part of the area and a big tourist attraction – but no more.

During the late 19th century 150 men were employed on the St Dogmaels boats but netting has declined over the years and during the just-completed season there were only three boats.

Now the crews of those vessels have cast their nets for the very last time due to what they claim to be continued unreasonable regulations introduced by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) which have driven them off the river.

As from next year, netsmen will have to release all salmon caught and fishing will be prohibited during April and August, curtailing the season to three months.

Boat operators Wayne Jones, Aaron Walters and Brent Williams pointed out that the licence fee of £582 had not been reduced, making it unviable to continue the ancient practice.

Wayne’s great grandfather Dai Jones, grandfather Danny Jones and father Morfyn Jones were all Seine licence holders, while his sons Dan and Rhys have been part of the crew and on the final day of the season Wayne had his six-year-old grandson Loui on board.

During that final fishing expedition, a 10lb salmon was taken and became the last to be netted in the Teifi estuary.

Confirming that Seine fishing on the Teifi has now passed into history; Wayne said: “It is a sad time for the area as this is part of our heritage.

“But Natural Resources Wales has imposed such stringent byelaws that it is not worth taking out a licence.

“Surely the authority should be encouraging what is a tourist attraction and not killing it off,” he said.

“A spokesperson for Natural Resources Wales said that the various byelaws were introduced to help preserve dwindling salmon stocks.