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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 12:19 GMT
Salmon return to river
leaping Salmon
Leaping salmon could become a familiar sight
Salmon have returned to breed in the River Dove in Derbyshire, England, for the first time in 70 years.

A fish has been seen leaping up a weir, following attempts to reintroduce the species.

The Environment Agency has been putting young fish into the water in the hope they would one day return to breed, after their migration out to sea.

There is hope a viable population will now develop.

Spawning ground

Fisheries manager Gary Cyster, who saw the fish, said: "I hoped that we would see the first fish return this year and I was elated when I saw a salmon jumping over the weir.

"I have been working towards this for the last 20 years. The work will continue and eventually I hope there will be a self-sustaining salmon population in the River Dove."

For centuries, the river was recognised as a valuable spawning ground for salmon.

It had clear, fast-flowing water and a stony river bed.

Water quality

But by the end of the 1800s, industrial pollution and obstructions in the river were making it difficult for the fish to return.

The last time a salmon was seen returning to the Dove is believed to have been in the 1930s.

The Environment Agency has been trying to improve the quality of the water and has been restocking with fish.

Salmon spend up to three years in fresh water before migrating out to sea where they spend up to three more years. They then return to their home river in late autumn to spawn.

See also:

29 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Anglers' heaven after great escape
06 Aug 01 | Northern Ireland
Salmon tagging scheme criticised
20 Apr 01 | UK
A tale of two rivers
18 Jun 01 | Scotland
Salmon farming under fire
20 Sep 00 | Scotland
River catches at all-time low
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