Water pollution: 'We’ve lost it, the River Wye looks so ill'

·2 min read
Nathan Jubb
Nathan Jubb has been fishing on the River Wye for 45 years after catching his first salmon as a boy

After 45 years of angling on the River Wye, a local fisheries manager faces giving it up because of pollution.

Nathan Jubb, a gillie, said the "dreadful conditions" were having an impact on the eco-systems and the river "looks so ill".

He spoke out after water temperatures hit 19C (66F) - very high for the time of year, with algal blooms forming at Redbrook on the Anglo-Welsh border.

It comes after water firms pledged to spend £10bn to tackle sewage pollution.

Mr Jubb said treated sewage gets discharged into the river and combined with run off from farms and rising temperatures, conditions were perfect for algae to grow quickly.

Algal blooms limit oxygen in the river, making it harder for wildlife to thrive.

"Going back 20 years this would have been gin clear," Mr Jubb said.

"But now we've lost it. This river looks so ill and I'm getting ill thinking about it, I really am."

Pollution and rising temperatures create the perfect conditions for algae to grow

It is not the first time the Wye, which flows through Wales, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire, has been affected by excessive algal growth, often caused by high levels of phosphate in the water.

Local authorities are working together to develop a plan for cleaning up the river.

The Environment Agency is facing High Court action over claims it has failed to protect the River Wye from agricultural pollution, but has insisted it was "working hard" to restore the area.

Algae limits oxygen levels in the river, making it harder for wildlife to thrive

Mr Jubb said the pollution had affected his mental health and he was now facing giving up his beloved role, saying fishing in the river would be irresponsible.

He said the water temperature was going to rise further over the summer months, causing even greater concerns for the welfare of the fish.

"This is my life, this is my living, and I really can't see past this," Mr Jubb added.

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