Revitalised river

It's nice to have a success story instead of doom and gloom and the River Tyne is one such. Just like the Thames in London, the Tyne used to be pretty polluted, especially downstream. In fact it was polluted right up to the 1980s but then the big clean-up began. Now Bill Oddie is only a few miles upstream out of the city and not only does the river look absolutely wonderful, it’s full of life. Now this may look like the Finals of the North Eastern Fish-Wrestling championships, but these guys from the Environmental Agency really do know what they are doing. The point of the exercise is to check how many salmon are using the river and what state of health the fish are in once they get this far upstream. It’s only really in the last 20 years that we’ve started seeing an increase in the number of fish coming back to the river and that’s in both salmon and sea trout. This is salmon here. This guy is coming up-river to spawn. This one is a cock fish - cocks and hens are the correct terms with fish. We find in the Tyne, from studies done, that they spend between one and three years in fresh water, as juveniles. So they literally change from a freshwater fish as a youngster into a seawater fish, normally spending between about one or two years out at sea. Their sole purpose basically is to come back into the river, spawn and then die. It’s a very primitive sort of life-cycle, but it works pretty well: salmon have been around for an awfully long time. Bill and the others return the salmon back into the river to let them carry on upstream.

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