Large numbers of salmon in Seine – heading for Paris –

Large numbers of salmon in Seine – heading for Paris Published:  18 August, 2009

WILD Atlantic salmon are reported to be returning in large numbers to the River Seine, near the heart of the French capital.

Once one of Europe’s most polluted rivers, the discovery has delighted environmentalists and fishermen alike – but the wild Scottish salmon trade need not worry just yet. The fish are not of that quality at the moment.

But there is no doubt that the Atlantic salmon – listed as an endangered species throughout Europe – are back and anglers have netted some sizeable specimens from the river in recent months. They have also found large numbers of sea trout and other fish which were once thought to have been lost to pollution.

Historically, the salmon used to migrate up the Seine river for part of the year to spawn. Bernard Breton, head of France’s national fishing federation said: ‘The good news is that a lot more fish are swimming up the Seine. This year has surpassed anything we could have imagined: we must have reached a thousand salmon crossing Paris. Salmon is what scientists call a bioindicator – as its presence provides a good indication of water pollution levels.’

Atlantic salmon or salmo salar, is on the European Union’s list of endangered fish species.

Scientists say that all the fish found in and around Paris are wild, as the Seine has not been stocked with farm reared salmon for many years. They add that the development is both significant and a welcome sign that river pollution has improved dramatically.