The 'exorbitant cost' of a licence for coracle fishing is threatening a way of life dating from time immemorial that is also a significant tourist attraction on the lower reaches of the River Teifi.

Fishermen have cast their nets from the frail craft at Cilgerran for hundreds of years but the ten or so who trawl the waterway nowadays say that bylaws introduced by Natural Resources Wales could drive them from the river and condemn their way of life to extinction.

New rules introduced at the start of the year require netsmen to return all salmon caught as well as also shortened the season for catching sea trout (sewin) by two months.

Now a further bylaw for season 2021 is seen by fishermen as a devastating blow to the ancient method of fishing, which they claim is part of their heritage.

The netsmen already considered the licence fee of £248 for a season running from May 1 until July 31 far too high but under a new regulation the NRW has increased the fee to £550.

Experienced netsman Paul Williams said: “They have stopped us catching salmon, cut the season right down and now this increase of more than £300 in the licence fee is a huge setback.”

A Natural Resources Wales spokesperson said “The new bylaws have been approved by Government ministers and are intended to preserve dwindling migratory fish stocks.”

Returns from netsmen showed a bumper season for sea trout this year.