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The Demise of the Mayfly: Inspiring Activism in the Eyes and Ears of Anglers

‘The mayfly is much more than a cliché fly pattern in early summer. Its ephemeral majesty is the perfect metaphor for the fleeting nature of our time on earth. For these precious insects need healthy, stable rivers to trip their light fantastic just as we do for our health & happiness. Put simply, if the mayfly aren’t dancing, our rivers, and we as a species are dying.’

Actor and Activist, Jim Murray

Jim Murray of Activist Anglers, fishing on a river

Water pollution has become far more visible in the press over the past few years but as we well know, anglers have always quietly acted as the guardians of our waterways. We are uniquely placed to observe possible pollution and adverse changes in our waterways. We are focussed on the wildlife and biodiversity surrounding them.

Led by actor Jim Murray, an active ambassador for Atlantic Salmon Trust and Angling Trust, Activist Anglers is a new collective that all the angling community is invited to join. AA aims to empower and educate anglers on how they can make a difference to protect their local waterways. It enables and encourages anglers to feel empowered and be more active by working together to hold polluters to account and affect real change, while also offering anglers the tools they need to become activists on the waterways they love.

The inspiration behind Activist Anglers comes as a result of Jim Murray’s love of fishing. It opened his eyes to the immense challenges our waterways face and motivated him to act where he could. Jim is an avid supporter of Fish Legal, an organisation that uses the law on behalf of anglers to fight polluters and others who damage and threaten the water environment. Fish Legal secures compensation for members to help restore polluted waters, giving real power and action to anglers to force real change.

Jim Murray said, “There are millions and millions of us. ‘Angler’ covers everyone from children crabbing in rock pools to the seasoned fly angler casting for the elusive sea trout in Patagonia. Fishing is global, fishing is huge. It has never been timelier for our vast community to rally together to protect and fight for the future of our waterways.   

When I first started to open my eyes to the state of our rivers and oceans through fishing I was astonished by the challenges these environments faced. I vowed to fight for their health and survival from that day on. Since then and largely thanks to the massive support from other likeminded anglers I have helped remove an industrial polluter from the headwaters of the river Itchen, slow down Southern Water’s over-abstraction of the River Test and its pollution of it, spread awareness about the unsustainability of open cage Atlantic salmon fish farms, all of which will hopefully help make a difference to the overall wellbeing of our environment. 

A single person can make a real difference. A little drive & passion translates into a lot of action, which is what is needed now more than ever to demand the government’s attention to affect the change in policies that are so urgently required. Anglers are the eyes and ears of our waterways, the custodians of their future. We are many and if we all unite and become more active in our roles as guardians, we will surely force the change our rivers and oceans are screaming out for.”

The campaign asks the questions, ‘Have you ever wondered what you could do to be more active in your local water?’, ‘What can you do to become more involved in your local water?’ Activist Anglers will provide anglers with the tools they need - from information on local volunteering opportunities to environmental campaigns to help protect the places anglers fish.

More information on Activist Anglers can be found here on The Angling Trust website. 

Activist Anglers
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