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Lampreys return to North East England as water quality improves

A species  of rare and protected fish has been spotted in the region’s rivers following improvements in river water quality.

The Environment Agency, working with local angling groups and Natural England, has been surveying North-East rivers searching for Lamprey.

So far one spawning site on the River Wear and a total of 20 adult sea lampreys have been counted.

In North Yorkshire, Natural England has a project underway in search for sea lampreys on the River Ouse.

River and sea lampreys are also expected to return to spawning grounds on the lower River Wharfe, Swale, Nidd and Ure.

Experts say the rare, jawless fish are a good indication of the high quality of the river water and scientists are continuing to search for more lampreys on the Wear and the Ouse river catchments.

Paul Frear, Environment Agency fisheries officer, said:

“We welcome the return of the lampreys back to Yorkshire and the North East. The lampreys are like swallows. They return to the same spot to spawn within the same few days every year.

“These illusive fish are extremely selective with their spawning sites and will only nest where the water quality is good. Their appearance is a ringing endorsement of the water quality in these areas.”

Scientists say lamprey are extremely unusual. The most primitive fish in the world, it uses its mouth like a suction-cup to attach itself to the skin of a fish and rasp away tissue with its sharp probing tongue and teeth.

They outwardly resemble eels because they have no scales and an adult lamprey can range anywhere from 13cm to 100cm. They have large eyes, one nostril on the top of their heads, and seven gill pores on each side.

Claire Horseman, from Natural England, said:

 “We are hoping that the lamprey projects being undertaken by Natural England and the Environment Agency will help us better understand the migratory behaviour of these primitive species and the challenges that they face along their migratory route. With this increased understanding we can work towards restoring lamprey populations to their former status.”

During the Middle Ages lampreys were widely eaten by the upper classes throughout Europe, especially during fasting periods, because their taste is much meatier than that of other fish.

The deaths of two English kings,  Henry I and John, are said to have been from overindulging on the fish.

Source ; http://northstar.boards.net/thread/218/lamprey-return-region-quality-improves

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Almanac – October 12

1216 – King John of England loses his crown jewels in The Wash.
According to contemporary reports, John travelled from Spalding in Lincolnshire to Bishop’s Lynn, in Norfolk, was taken ill and decided to return. While he took the longer route by way of Wisbech, he sent his baggage train, including his crown jewels, along the causeway and ford across the mouth of the Wellstream.
 This route was usable only at low tide. The horse-drawn wagons moved too slowly for the incoming tide, and many were lost.The location of the accident is usually supposed to be somewhere near Sutton Bridge, on the River Nene.

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Astronomical study, however, permits a reconstruction of the tide table for the relevant day and it seems most likely, given travel in the usual daylight hours, that the loss would have been incurred in crossing the Welland Estuary at Fosdyke.
There is also a suspicion that John left his jewels in Lynn as security for a loan and arranged for their “loss”.

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1692 – The Salem witch trials were ended by a letter from Massachusetts Governor William Phips.

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Consequently, October 12th is Freethought Day , the annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials.

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1773 – America’s first insane asylum opens for ‘Persons of Insane and Disordered Minds’ in Virginia

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1872 – Ralph Vaughan Williams born. English composer of symphonies, chamber music, opera, choral music, and film scores. He was also a collector of English folk music and song: this activity both influenced his editorial approach to the English Hymnal, beginning in 1904, in which he included many folk song arrangements set as hymn tunes, and also influenced several of his own original compositions.

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1875 – Aleister Crowley born.  English occultist, mystic, ceremonial magician, poet and mountaineer, who was responsible for founding the religious philosophy of Thelema. In his role as the founder of the Thelemite philosophy, he came to see himself as the prophet who was entrusted with informing humanity that it was entering the new Aeon of Horus in the early 20th century.

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1945 – Desmond Doss became  the first conscientious objector to receive the U.S. Medal of Honor. He refused to kill, or carry a weapon into combat, because of his personal beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist. He thus became a medic, and his Medal of Honor was earned by the risks he took to save the lives of many comrades.

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1954 – Linval Thompson born. Jamaican reggae and dub musician and record producer.

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1964 – The Soviet Union launched Voskhod 1 into Earth orbit as the first spacecraft with a multi-person crew and the first flight without space suits.

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1971 – Gene Vincent died. American Rock & Roll and Rockabilly musician. Died of a ruptured stomach ulcer.

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1979 – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams was published.

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1984 – Brighton hotel bombing: The Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet. Thatcher escaped but the bomb killed five people and wounded 31.

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