SALMON are back in a Gwent river for the first time in more than a 100 years, thanks to a £750,000 river revamp.
Councillor Fred Wildgust of Pontypool claims to have seen two feet long salmon jumping in the Afon Llwyd behind Ty Nant Ddu.
It is thought to be the first sighting of salmon beyond the Pontymoel Basin in over a hundred years, and follows the installation of a £750,000 fish ladder by the Environment Agency earlier this year.
The ladder, fitted at the basin, allows fish to continue swimming up stream past the weir that had acted like a barrier to the salmon.
The sighting means the ladder is working. It is hoped the fish will go as far as Blaenavon.
Fred Wildgust said Pontypool could rival other tourism sites in Gwent such as Usk and Abergavenny.
"I encourage people to go to the weir near Ty Nant Ddu and have a look for the fish, especially after its rained. It’s phenomenal."
Torfaen council ecologist Kris Roberts said the sighting "Once we have got salmon going up there will be economic benefits on the area," he said.
Angling clubs on the Afon Llwyd will be about to promote their parts of the river as places where people can fish for salmon.
The officer explained that more work is now needs to be done to encourage the salmon to spawn, including habitat enhancement to the river.
As well as helping fish swim up stream, the ladder also assists otters who can use the pass to move up the river.