SCHOOLCHILDREN have helped introduce 160,000 young salmon fry to the River Dove.
Youngsters at Abbotsholme School in Rocester teamed up with members of the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Team and the Trent Rivers Trust to help re-stock the River Dove.
Children in year one and two took over the school’s twitter feed during the restock, posting messages, photos and videos of the event on Tuesday last week.
Around 160,000 salmon bred at the Environment Agency’s Kielder hatchery in Northumberland were released into the River Dove and the River Churnet, with 20,000 of them being clipped to distinguish them from naturally reared fish.
Both rivers are part of the Trent catchment which was adversely affected after the industrial revolution, and rendered virtually lifeless by pollution.
Today, huge improvements have been seen, and the rivers now support a diverse invertebrate and fish population.
Mick Buxton from the Environment Agency said: “It’s so important to enthuse and inspire the next generation to get involved in protecting their rivers so they can be enjoyed for years to come.
“Our rivers are now the healthiest that they’ve been for over 20 years, and improvements in water quality should allow all these fish to thrive.” Dr Tim Jacklin, is a trustee of the Trent Rivers Trust, which has worked in partnership with the Environment Agency since 1998 with a view to restocking salmon in the rivers which feed into the River Trent.
Dr Jacklin said: “It’s fantastic news that the Dove and Churnet are able to support this iconic species, but the long journey salmon make to the sea and back highlights some of the challenges we still face in the catchment.
“Removing barriers to migration, not just for salmon, but other species like coarse fish, trout, eels and lampreys is a high priority for the Trent Rivers Trust, and we aim to deliver three major fish pass projects in the next year.
“Ensuring we have enough cool, clean water in our rivers is also vital; if we can restore a thriving salmon population, we can be sure our rivers are healthy.” Head teacher of Abbotsholme School, Steve Fairclough, said: “The salmon restock into the River Dove is an excellent thing for the children to be involved in.
“They are already learning about the environment and social media on their curriculum, and combining the two is excellent fun and a great learning experience.”