MP for Doncaster North, Ed Miliband, has officially opened a special fish pass at Sprotbrough Weir on the River Don, designed to help migratory salmon and sea trout and other fish migrate up and downstream.
To mark the official opening of the fish pass Mr Miliband unveiled a specially-commissioned sculpture recognising the history and ecology of the River Don and Don Gorge.
The 4ft limestone sculpture depicts a salmon, a barbel and an eel, species, which will be able to move more easily up and down the river thanks to the new fish pass. Positioned around the sculpture are foundation stones from an old mill which was unearthed during construction of the fish pass.
Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband praised the Environment Agency, and the Canal & River Trust, for their work saying: “I’d like to congratulate everyone involved in the project. The fish pass will help to increase wildlife in Doncaster’s rivers, and, in the future, bring fish such as salmon back to our waters.”
In recent decades, through the efforts of the Environment Agency and investment in water quality by industry and water companies, the effects of industrial and sewage pollution and habitat loss on the Don have been reversed. Today the river supports a healthy fish population.
Originally built to power industry or to regulate water levels for navigation the weirs on the River Don, are an obstacle to fish and eel migration to essential spawning gravels and habitat to feed, breed and shelter. Installing fish passes enables the fish to swim around the weirs and make their way safely up and down the river.
The project has also created a viewing area for visitors to watch fish using the new pass. The sculpture was created by Anthony Downing who works for the Environment Agency and the limestone was kindly donated by Cadeby Stone from Tarmac’s nearby Cadeby Quarry.