In the past, the anadromous salmonids, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and sea-trout (Salmo trutta), have formed natural populations in the river Rhine. From the beginning of the nineteenth century onwards, the greater part of the drainage area of the river has been gradually altered from a more or less rural and agricultural area, into a highly industrialised one with subsequent industrialisation, river-engineering and heavy pollution. These developments are considered to be the major cause for the disappearance of the populations of anadromous salmonid fish in the 1950s. The water quality has recovered significantly during the past 25 years. From about 1975 onwards, this process gave rise to a recovery of the anadromous trout population. Results of recent studies of the sea-trout migration pattern are presented. They reveal that nowadays these salmonids can complete their up- and downstream migrations from the North Sea to places, situated at hundreds of kilometres upward the river and vica versa. The numbers of recorded Atlantic salmon and catch locations in inland waters are presented. They show a significant increase since 1989. These phenomena can be understood as promising signs of the recovery of the Rhine aquatic ecosystem.

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