Fish return to region’s rivers

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SPECIES of fish lost from South Yorkshire’s rivers for more than 100 years are making a comeback after the water quality improved.

For the past year the Environment Agency, along with councils, water firms, British Waterways and The Rivers Trust, has built 10 fish passes to encourage the return of salmon, sea trout, lamprey and eel.

The Niagara fish pass on the River Don is one of the latest to be completed, while other sites include the River Sheaf at Millhouses Park, Abbeydale Wood and Heeley Bridge, as well as the River Dearne at Old Moor, Houghton and Darfield.

The new passes will also help to improve access to the river bank for anglers and walkers.

Neil Trudgill, Environment Agency project manager, said surveys on the River Don have shown the recovery of fish including brown trout, grayling, chub and dace.

He said: “We carry out the surveys by tagging the fish using a fluorescent marker which allows us to see if they have been successful in using the pass to migrate upstream.”

Mr Trudgill said up until now fish on the River Don have been blocked by weirs from moving to spawning and nursery areas.

He said: “We’ve been working to remove some of these blockages and it’s really encouraging to see the results on the River Don, proving the effectiveness of the Niagara pass.

“We are starting to see the return of some species that have not been in our rivers for over 100 years.

“The fish passes will also reduce the need for us to restock the river which will save money, and help other animals that live off fish to thrive, such as otters.”