It has transformed rivers, the equivalent distance of London to Rio and back, into super highways for fish, says the government’s Environment Agency.
“Almost 200 obstructions in rivers have been overcome , with passing areas for fish installed or weirs removed,” a spokesman for the agency said on Saturday.
“Weir removals and fish passes create ‘fish highways’ making a faster, easier route from the sea right up to the upper reaches of rivers. This work benefits coarse fish that spend their entire lives in the river, as well as the species that migrate between the river and the sea, such as eel, salmon and sea trout.”
If the agency has not been able to remove weirs, often used to prevent flooding or damage to bridges and riverside buildings, specially created fish passes have been the solution.
Sarah Chare, head of fisheries at the Environment Agency, said: “After considerable investment, rivers in England are the healthiest for 20 years. Opening up our rivers to help fish migrate is a crucial part of this.”
The agency has been working with partners on projects across England, citing a recent successful project to removing a barrier to enable migration of fish to pass along the River Tyne in Northumberland.
In Yorkshire new “fish highways” are seeing rivers providing a better habitat for the coarse fish, grayling and brown trout that live there.
Work in Dorset means it is now easier for salmon and sea trout to migrate up some of the county’s best-known rivers, making it possible for fish to swim to spawning grounds for the first time in many years.
World Fish Migration Day is a one day global-local event to create awareness on the importance of open rivers and migratory fish. More than 1,000 organizations around the globe are involved. Enditem