Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Return of the Salmon- A River Cleaning Experiment from France worthy of Emulation by Others

After a gap of about hundred years Atlantic salmon has reappeared in river Seine. Whole of France is agog. The fish abounded in the river in the middle Ages but made the exit with the advent of pollution. Atlantic salmons are bioindicators , indicating that the habitat is healthy.

The spectacular result did not come over night. It was the result of years of painstaking work. This year the numbers of Salmon have exceeded 1000+.

Seine used to be connected to the famed sewers that the writer Victor Hugo called “a world of slime without human form”. For the past 30 years efforts have been afoot to end the pollution of the Seine with organic pollutants and chemical run-off from industry and agriculture. The surface is cleaned regularly and there is a system that pumps oxygen into fish-friendly stretches when the need is felt.

A delighted Mayor of Paris, Mr Bertrand Delanoƫ, is effuse in his praise for the good work. The Mayor says the return of the Atlantic salmon is a triumph for the Seine purification effort of the state and is a sign of a clear improvement in the quality of water in the river.

So far about 30 species of fish have returned to seine. The return of the Salmon is the crowning glory. Anglers’ regularly haul in bream, carp, pike, perch, catfish and sea trout but they throw them back to Seine.

This is an experiment worthy of emulation. Many of our works here in India does not come to fruition. The authorities here should have a close look at how France has achieved this commendable result and redraft their strategies.Environment Minister Jayram Rameshji are you listening?

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