When I first heard about Aquascope, I was in a bad mood. I had just read a report about the rapid and shocking deterioration of the Welsh River Wye, which had turned the colour of pea soup. It was an algal bloom, they said. But no-one could agree on its cause, nor its source. “It’s complicated.” they said, “And we need accurate data to establish the facts.” Well Aquascope is pretty good at both.
I first went fishing with my brothers, to the large and rather beautiful Roath Park Lake on the outskirts of Cardiff. We lived just up the road, and my father thought it would help keep us occupied and for us to spend time in the fresh air.
Off we’d go in the early morning sunshine, equipped with a pack of sandwiches and luncheon meat for bait. I remember the lake as being pretty murky looking, probably due to the large numbers of ducks and swans in residence. But the small stream flowing into it, was crystal clear and full of fascination to a small child. We used to net minnows and sticklebacks, and filled glass jam jars with dozens of wriggling elvers, which we would find in great numbers under stones and in the margins of the stream.
My fishing adventures ceased during the early and middle years of adulthood, to accommodate work and bringing up a family. But resumed again in my 50’s when I discovered the great joys of fly fishing, for trout and grayling, salmon and sea trout.
What a shame it took me so long, as during those intervening years, so many of our rivers suffered from pollution, and are no longer home to the spiky stickleback and the enigmatic elver. And I find their rapid decline both shocking and heartbreaking.
The awareness of our rivers’ steady destruction has suddenly caught the public’s imagination, but it’s been depressingly slow for those responsible to admit their fault. So the collective clamour now is for data. Accurate data. Data that will show what exactly is in the water. Accurate data that will show where pollutants originate, how they accumulate, how long they will remain in our rivers.
Which is why I joined Aquascope. To use my professional skills and experience, and my love of fly fishing, to help get that data to where it will do most good. To the organisations who need to understand what they are putting in the water, and to the organisations and individuals who use rivers and love them as I do.
We can only fix this if we fully understand the problem. So let’s get on with it, and enable a new generation of small children to experience the wonder of a crystal clear and healthy river just bursting with life. We owe it to them, and to the generations to come.