Fish pass helps salmon head up River Tyne to spawn
Tens of thousands of salmon have been helped by a new fish pass as they make their way up the River Tyne in a once-in-a-lifetime journey to spawn.
Along with thousands of sea trout, the fish swim up from the sea so they can lay their eggs in the tributaries of the river.
The Tyne is now regarded as the best river in England for salmon, overcoming decades of industry and pollution to see around 40,000 fish swim upstream.
Along the way, they will meet obstacles such as the weir at Hexham, Northumberland, which results in them hurling themselves up the barrier.
But now a special pass has been built to aid them on their journey.
Built by a partnership of the Environment Agency, the Tyne Rivers Trust and Northumberland County Council, the channel has just completed its first full year of use.
Phil Rippon, technical specialist for the Environment Agency, said: "It's been a long time coming as the pass was first dreamt up when the second Tyne Tunnel was built.
"It's been a big project, so it's great to see it in place.
"For the salmon, it's a once-in-a lifetime journey as after spawning they will die, having probably been out at sea for a couple years.
"They need to find well oxygenated water and the right sort of gravel - and amazingly they always return to the same tributary.
"The weir acts as an obstruction to the fish, but they always follow the flow so the pass allows them just to swim up.
"And we know they are using it as we have done some monitoring and they seem to particularly use it at night."