THOUSANDS of fish have been released into the River Pont this week to help boost stocks.
The Environment Agency released the one-year-old grayling into the river around Stamfordham, Matfen and Eachwick to increase numbers in areas that have previously recorded pollution.
Fish were also put into the Clow Beck in Darlington, which flows into the River Tees, as both the Pont and Tees have suffered from poor water quality and habitat degradation in the past.
However, the agency is helping to improve the watercourses.
Fisheries officers Paul Frear and Gareth Pedley carried out the stocking on Tuesday, with a total of 6,000 fish.
Mr Frear said: “We are pleased with the way the restoration of these watercourses has gone and it is now time to help fish stocks recover. It is good news for local anglers as there should be a wider variety of healthy adult fish to catch next season.”
The grayling have been reared at the agency’s own fish farm in Calvington, Nottinghamshire, where between 350,000 and 500,000 fish are produced to stock rivers across the country each year.
The farm is funded by fees from fishing licences.
It is hoped that the grayling will continue to grow in the rivers and some will spawn in spring 2013, helping the population to return to healthy numbers.
The Environment Agency releases fish into waterways annually, using data from local surveys to identify where there are problems of poor breeding and survival.