Posted by: waterworks | August 8, 2008

36. Happy Trout 2 (Don’t Forget Paris)

British newspaper The Guardian reports:

‘For the first time since records began a healthy-looking sea trout has been discovered in the Seine, prompting Paris authorities to claim a resounding success in their bid to clean up the river after years of pollution and neglect.  The discovery of the migratory fish was “crucial evidence” that water quality was higher than ever, insisted the SIAAP, the public body in charge of cleaning up the river.  “This is the first time this species has been identified in the Parisian region,” a spokesman said yesterday.  The sighting is particularly significant, experts say, because the water trout is highly sensitive and demanding about the quality of water in which it swims.  The fact that it is now able to live in the Seine is proof of the river’s constant improvement in quality, they said.’

It is not unusual for fish to be held up as harbingers of post-industrial progress.  Britain’s Mersey Basin Campaign achieved phenomenal success cleaning up rivers in north-west England during the 1990s – and found its own touchstone for success with the first sighting of salmon in 2001.  Europe-wide, urban rivers are now undergoing chemical and biological restoration.  The un-fondly remembered days of heavy metal soup – topped with ripening rafts of rotting human excrement – are increasingly distant memories for the continent’s old industrial waterways.  Point-source emissions from headwater farms may still bring minor levels of chemical discomfort to rivers like the Seine and Mersey – but at nothing like the intensity that Simpsons TV star Blinky’s forbears must have been exposed to across the pond in Springfield.

TV star Blinky

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