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December 18, 2007
Salmon Jumping to Freedom
Down on the fish farm, workers could not understand why the number of brown trout had suddenly taken a dive. But close observation revealed the reason - an aquatic version of the Great Escape.
The resourceful fish are leaping 3ft out of the water and into an eight-inch pipe which brings fresh water into the farm near Alresford, Hampshire. Following their instincts the trout, cousins of the Atlantic salmon, then swim against the flow
for 30ft before finding freedom at the other end as they plop into a tributary of the River Itchen. Simon Johnson, director of the Wild Trout Trust, said: “Brown trout do have migratory tendencies and swim upstream, especially in November and December. “The
water coming down from the pipe is oxygenating the pond and this could be kicking in their natural instincts. “They might well think it is a waterfall and are trying to head up it to find a place to spawn.”
The Escape Committee were caught in the act by wildlife photographer Dennis Bright, 59. A farm worker said: “It is remarkable how they manage to jump so high and through such a small pipe. “We run a low-intensity farm and like to let nature
thrive so we don’t net our ponds. As a result we lose up to 40 per cent of our stock to predators every year. “To see us losing more fish through pipes that are designed to help them is a bit of a blow. But to be honest, if I were them I would be trying to
escape too. Good luck to ‘em.” Wildlife photographer Dennis Bright, 59, captured the amazing aerobatic fish earlier this week. He said: “It was an incredible sight. “Swimming against the current is instinctive for trout as they head up stream to spawn but
they are doing a remarkable job getting through that pipe.
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