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Under The Surface

An interview with Matthew Wright

An interview with Matthew Wright

Immy O'Keeffe, Development Manager
20 May 2021

Broadcaster, Matthew Wright is a vice president of Salmon & Trout Conservation and acutely aware of the critical risk facing our wild fish populations and the waters they inhabit.

A supporter of our work for nigh-on two decades, we caught up with Matthew on the current challenges facing our river environments and why there is still so much work to be done.

Here’s what he had to say...

The River Wandle. Photo copyright: Getty Images.

Can you sum up with you do in two lines?

I’m a broadcaster, (older) dad, husband, angler and frustrated motorcycle mechanic!

What motivates your interest in river conservation?

Years ago, I helped with a clean up on the Wandle, a tributary of the River Thames in South London. I was feeling very smug after filling a skip with tyres, shopping trolleys and builders’ rubble only to be told the same volunteers fill a skip every month cleaning the same few hundred yards of water. As an angler and activist, I guess I’m more aware than most of the scale of the problem we all face.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing wild water and fish in the UK?

The biggest problems I suspect are the invisible ones, the chemicals and microplastics but that’s only part of the story: abstraction, run-off, deliberate poisonings, litter and physical mismanagement (poor bank side planting) all play a role. All of this ultimately impacts wild fish populations, if we fix more of the above the fish will look after themselves!

River Wandle. Phone copyright: Getty Images.
River Wandle. Phone copyright: Getty Images.

Do you have a favourite stretch of river?

I fell instantly in love with the River Usk as soon as I laid eyes on it, particularly a stretch I visited with the late Jimmy Devoy whose guiding hand helped my wife to a lovely wild brown trout over 3lbs. The photograph hangs over the fireplace at Gliffaes Hotel in South Wales. I envy those lucky souls who enjoy the Usk daily.

What area of our work most interests you and where do you think is our biggest challenge?

While water - quality and quantity- tends to dominate my thoughts the plight of the Atlantic Salmon is so desperate I wish environmentalists would focus on it more.

River Usk. Photo copyright: Andy Coleman, Getty Images
River Usk. Photo copyright: Andy Coleman, Getty Images

S&TC Vice Presidents

Our Vice Presidents are champions for our work who share our aims and add their own unique influence to our campaigning. You can find out more about our vice presidents here