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Celebrating World Fish Migration Day

A rockpool fish pass at Shotley Bridge built by the Trust

24th October is World Fish Migration Day, where we celebrate the incredible journey undertaken every year by species like salmon and sea trout. These fish follow their sense of smell to travel thousands of miles to return to the place where they hatched to give their offspring the best chance of survival.

This journey is made more difficult by manmade obstructions like weirs and culverts that are hard for them to move past. If they are unable to get beyond these obstructions, they are often forced to lay their eggs in unsuitable habitat, meaning their offspring have a lower chance of survival. Even when they do leap beyond these obstructions, they use a phenomenal amount of energy and risk injury, which means they might not be able to produce as many eggs or make it to the ideal spawning location. Therefore, after their monumental effort, it is important we do our bit to make the final leg of this amazing migration slightly easier. 

To help fish reach their destination, we work to remove as many obstructions from Tyne rivers as we can. You might have seen large fish passes that we have built like the one a Hexham Bridge or Shotley Bridge, but we also work on much smaller easements like one we have just finished on Dargues Burn in partnership with the Revitalising Redesdale project.

Jack Bloomer, Deputy CEO at the Trust says: “Despite projects like these, the River Tyne is still affected by barriers to migratory fish throughout its length that range from weirs that were used to power mills several hundred years ago to more modern structures like the culvert at Dargues Burn.

“These barriers mean that adult salmon returning from the sea do not have as much spawning habitat available as they did historically, so the River Tyne can’t support as many fish as it once did. As the climate changes and other environmental challenges place increasing pressure on our fish populations, it is increasingly important that we tackle these structures to ensure future generations can enjoy thriving sea trout and salmon populations on the Tyne.”

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