Page last updated at 15:41 GMT, Sunday, 7 February 2010

Fish scales point to river Tyne health

Salmon and sea trout are the focus of the study

Anglers who use the River Tyne are being asked to help scientists check the health of fish stocks.

The Environment Agency has called on anglers to collect scales from salmon and sea trout caught in the river for laboratory examination.

Under magnification, marks on the scales can be read - in a similar way to rings on a tree trunk - to show stages in the fish's life cycle.

The project is specifically targeting fish returning to the Tyne to spawn.

Agency monitoring officer Morton Heddell-Cowie said: "Last year anglers sent in almost 400 scale samples from different areas of the Tyne.

"After inspecting the samples we were able to glean information about fish stocks, their health and their movements throughout the river system."

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