Tyne & Wear

Record salmon count for River Tyne

Image caption Salmon return to the River Tyne to spawn

Record numbers of salmon have been counted in the River Tyne, according to the Environment Agency.

Agency officers said a record 1,866 salmon were counted between February and May - up from 581 in the same period last year.

Agency staff have monitored migratory fish numbers in the river since 1996, when a fish counter was installed at Riding Mill in Northumberland.

A spokesman said the figures showed the signs for 2011 were "very encouraging."

Phil Rippon, fisheries technical specialist for the Environment Agency, said: "Our fish count between February and May exceeded all previous totals, with a mixture of salmon and sea trout being observed.

"Hopefully this trend will continue throughout the season and we'll have another good year for fish and anglers."

Scientists use data from the counter to monitor fish populations in the river and to make decisions about how best to manage them in the future.

Fifty years ago, very few salmon or sea trout were seen in the Tyne because the river was too polluted.

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