Fish Story: First Salmon Caught in Basel in 50 Years
A Swiss fisher reeled in a surprise on Sunday. The Swiss environment ministry confirmed Wednesday that the hobby fisher had caught the first salmon seen in Basel for half a century.
A fish using one of the fish ladders in the eastern French town of Gambsheim. Fish ladders are one of many measures intended to lure salmon back into the formerly polluted Rhine River.
The size of the fish indicates that it travelled all the way down the Rhine to the open sea before returning upstream to spawn, Erich Staub, an official with the Environment Ministry, told the Associated Press. The round-trip journey is roughly 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers) through Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands.
From Basel to the ocean.
On Sunday, Wanner at first thought he had a large trout on the line. A passerby noticed Wanner struggling to reel in his catch and came over to help. As luck would have it, the passerby was Olivier Schmidt, a hobby fisher himself and a curator at Basel's Natural History Museum. Schmidt took the digital photo to the Environment Ministry for confirmation that the fish was indeed a salmon.
It is also a coup for a long-term project called "Salmon 2000," launched 20 years ago partly in response to a 1986 chemical disaster when pesticides were released into the Rhine. The Association of German Sports Anglers call it "one of the most elaborate species protection measures in human history," with countries along the Rhine cooperating to clean rivers polluted by industrial waste.
Salmon have been spotted in other sections of the Rhine River in recent years. None, however, had been seen as far upstream as Basel.
rbn -- with wire reports
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