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August 14, 2009

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Salmon return to Seine as Paris cleans up water

SALMON are returning to the Seine after an absence of almost a century as water in the river that runs through Paris has become cleaner in recent years, French scientists said.

Once numerous in the river, Atlantic salmon disappeared from the Seine in the early 20th century, partly due to pollution from Paris sewers. But scientists celebrated an improvement in water quality in the Seine that has tempted the protected species back to Paris.

"There has been a turning point. The improvement in water quality has meant that salmon have returned to the Seine," Charles Perrier of the National Institute for Agronomic Research said yesterday.

The National Federation for French Fishing estimated that about 1,000 salmon are present in the Seine.

Perrier said some salmon returning from the sea to breeding grounds lose their way and are drawn by higher oxygen levels and decreased household waste in the Seine.

In contrast with the Thames in Britain and the Rhine in Germany, salmon have returned to the Seine naturally, without efforts to reintroduce them into river-waters.


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