MORE fish passes are being created on rivers across the region.

The passes, which are installed at points such as weirs and dams, boost fish migration – helping rivers to thrive and native species recover.

Earlier this year, the results of a study showed that passes provided on the River Aire at three points where there are weirs had seen a positive impact.

Tagging was carried out to evaluate the difference.

All tagged brown trout could get through, and there was a 26 per cent increase in the number of coarse fish, such as chub and barbel, able to successfully navigate the obstacles.

Now planning for further projects is underway as part of a partnership known as Great Yorkshire Rivers.

The collaboration was initially formed between the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water and The Rivers Trust, but now involves more than a dozen organisations.

Its aim is that all artificial barriers which negatively impact on fish populations in the region should be addressed by 2043.

The barriers also restrict the movement of water, sediment and plant and insect life.

Neil Trudgill, a senior advisor and Great Yorkshire Rivers programme manager at the Environment Agency, says: "For many years, our rivers were vital to industry and instrumental in the success of towns and cities across the region, but unfortunately these working rivers were left in a poor state for fish.

"Industrial pollution and barriers, such as weirs, made it impossible for many species to migrate up and down the rivers, which is essential for their survival. Fish passes are an amazing opportunity to engage people with the river and reconnect them with the life within it."

Dr Ben Gillespie, river resilience specialist at Yorkshire Water, says: "Many organisations have been working since 2009 to remove these barriers, with great success, tackling 100 weirs in the region.

"We hope the Great Yorkshire Rivers partnership will further enhance that work as we look to achieve our aims of addressing all artificial barriers to fish migration in the next 20 years, opening up rivers and helping to secure the future of our native fish species, the wildlife reliant on them and angling."

Anna Gerring, regional development manager at The Rivers Trust, says: "These projects will allow many different species of fish to reach parts of our region’s rivers they haven’t been able to access for hundreds of years, while benefitting the communities alongside the rivers."