Rare fish spotted in river after long absence

A RARE fish has been found in the River Don for the first time in many years.

Two sea lampreys – eel-like jawless fish with suction cup mouths that attach themselves to the skin of fish – have been caught in the river at Crimpsall near Sprotbrough.

They were found during an Environment Agency fish survey and their presence reflects how the river has been cleaned up after decades of pollution.

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Lampreys – which are protected in the UK – have been around for 300 million years, first appearing about 70 million years before the first dinosaur.

The young live in rivers before migrating to the sea. Adults return to rivers to spawn.

Darren Rollins, Environment Agency monitoring officer, said: “We were catching the usual variety of coarse fish species during our survey when I was amazed to see a sea lamprey rising to the surface.

“We’ve never caught these fantastic fish in the River Don before.

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“Their sucker-like mouths and sharp teeth make them look very unusual and quite prehistoric.

“A few minutes later we caught another. There is a chance that they were trying to spawn so we released them back into the water straight away.”