Environment Agency fisheries officers have discovered the first salmon in the River Leven in more than 150 years.
The River Leven flows through North Yorkshire, and is a tributary to the River Tees at Yarm.
Until 2007 it was not possible for salmon to spawn in the River Leven because of an impassable weir which was built during the industrial revolution.
In 2007 the Environment Agency built a new fish pass on the weir at Leven Bridge, between Ingelby Barwick and Thornaby, and the first spawned salmon since the 18th century has now been found there.
The salmon measured 18 centimetres and was about one year old - meaning that at least one pair of adult salmon had swum up the River Tees to spawn and used the new fish pass on the River Leven.
It is likely that the fish hatched in spring last year and will migrate to the sea next year before returning to the river to spawn in the future.
The salmon was found as part of the Environment Agency’s National Fisheries Survey Programme. The results are used to show how water quality is improving over time, and provide data on fish populations which is used to manage fish stocks.
Richard Jenkins, environmental monitoring team leader for the Environment Agency, said:
“Our rivers are the healthiest for over 20 years allowing otters, salmon and other wildlife to return for the first time since the industrial revolution.
“European law called the Water Framework Directive has enabled us to target improvements in fish passage and water quality on the River Leven and the evidence of salmon returning shows that the work is starting to pay dividends.”
As well as the salmon, very good numbers of brown trout were also recorded in the River Leven.
Source - Environment Agency UK