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Water quality leads to boost in fish stocks in River Ure
ANGLERS have reported a dramatic rise in salmon numbers in a North river, increasing hopes that fishing can boost the local economy.
Eighty salmon have been officially caught in the River Ure, North Yorkshire, this year, compared to between only one and five fish a year over the past decade.
Among the catches was a fish that measured 47in and weighed about 40lb.
An improvement in water quality, particularly higher oxygen levels, is thought to be one reason for the increase.
Ure Salmon Trust, which aims to make the Ure, stretching 74 miles from upper Wensleydale to Linton-on-Ouse, near York, one of England’s premier salmon fishing rivers, was launched last year by land owners.
David Bamford, the trust’s river manager, said an increase in anglers reporting salmon catches partially explained the increase.
However, he added: “It’s amazing that 80 fish have been caught and hopefully we’re going to pass 100 before the end of the season.
“There’s some really big fish being caught as well.”
Mr Bamford said fish had been helped to pass up the river by the wet conditions this year.
The trust, which believes that making the Ure a principal salmon river could boost the local economy by £6m a year, has been working alongside the Environment Agency and Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust to improve the river for salmon.
The work has included improving spawning habitats in tributaries uch as the River Cover, near Middleham, Bishopdale Beck, in Wensleydale, and the Burn, near Masham.
More than 5,000 salmon smolts and parr were introduced into the Burn and Cover in the spring.
These fish were grown from eggs stripped from wild Ure salmon in 2010 and it is hoped they will return as adult fish in 2014.
A new fish counter has been installed at Westwick Weir, south of Ripon .
Work is also planned to assess whether salmon can pass beyond Aysgarth Falls.
Pat O’Brien, Environment Agency fisheries specialist, said: “The fish populations in the River Ure have been recovering very well over the last 20 years.
“The Ure didn’t suffer much from industrial pollution, as many other rivers have, so when the Humber water quality improved the Ure’s waters were ready for fish.”