Tyne & Wear

River Coquet 'escalator' to help save dying fish

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Media captionThe Northumberland Rivers Trust said fish had perished on the River Coquet after becoming trapped and injured at a concrete weir

A fish "escalator" has been reopened by volunteers on a river in Northumberland to help save thousands of dying fish.

The Northumberland Rivers Trust said fish had perished on the River Coquet after becoming trapped and injured at a concrete weir.

The new "watery escalator" will allow the fish to reach their breeding sites in tributaries among the Cheviot Hills.

Peter Kerr, director of the trust, said he had "high hopes" it will help the fish population in the county.

The escalator is made up of a series of pools connected by short fish jumps which allows fish to safely bypass the weir.

Thousands of Salmon, sea trout and eels will now be able to swim through the Warkworth Dam fish pass.

Damaged fish

Volunteers from The West End Anglers and The Northumbrian Anglers Federation helped restore the fish pass, which had been closed for 20 years after it had fallen into disrepair.

Mr Kerr said: "Just after it was cleared we saw a fish jumping through the system.

"Previously, the weir made it almost impossible for the fish to travel upstream to their spawning grounds.

"The fish were damaged by scraping their undersides on the concrete, which led to them becoming diseased and falling prey to seals and otters.

"Reopening the fish pass here at Warkworth will pave the way for increased numbers of fish to travel upstream to breed. And as fish stock increases, so too will wildlife connected to the river system, including otters, water voles and bird life."

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