Britain's most caustic television interrogator, Jeremy Paxman, is one of several well-known names to become vice-presidents of The Wild Trout Trust (WTT), a charity founded to conserve the species in its natural environment.
"Wild trout are a perfect measure of the health of our countryside," said Mr Paxman, who is a keen fisherman. "They will live and breed only in clean, well-aerated water and so if they flourish, our rivers are flourishing. If we promote the wild trout, we promote a healthy environment."
He is being joined by Gareth Edwards, Welsh rugby's legendary captain; Lord Steel of Aikwood, the former Liberal Democrat leader and now speaker of the Scottish parliament and Professor David Bellamy, the botanist and green campaigner.
The new president of the trust is Brian Clarke, the angling writer whose novel The Stream about the death of a small river from pollution, won several awards.
"Where once heavy industry was the major problem, the brown trout today is under pressure by stealth," Mr Clarke said. "Insecticides and herbicides used in intensive farming seep into waterways, killing the plant and insect life on which the brown trout depends. Fertilisers used to promote crop growth can produce choking growths of algae."
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