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Salmon found in Durham river for first time in generations

Salmon have returned to a polluted river for the first time in living memory.

A juvenile Atlantic salmon has been spotted in Lumley Park Burn, three years after the first evidence of spawning was found on the river.

The waterway begins in Hetton-le-Hole and flows through Fencehouses before entering the River Wear at Chester-le-Street, County Durham.

It was previously affected by chronic industrial pollution from the area’s coal mines, landfill sites and coke works.

The Salmon Parr (aged 1 year or over) was caught and returned unharmed after being measured.

The Salmon found at Lumley Park Burn. Credit: Wear Rivers Trust

"Water quality in the burn has improved greatly in the last few years, with major industrial and urban pollution issues being tackled.

"The fact that an iconic Atlantic salmon is now resident indicates that the burn is capable of sustaining a viable population."

– Paul Atkinson, Wear Rivers Trust

The evidence of salmon at Lumley Park Burn is the latest evidence of the species returning to County Durham's rivers.

Earlier this month, it emerged that salmon had been found in the River Derwent at Shotley Bridge for the first time in 300 years.

The Wear Rivers Trust is working on a number of projects throughout County Durham and Sunderland relies on local individuals and organisations to get involved with practical conservation tasks and monitoring.