Tiny half-a-metre-long fish that look like sharks have been found in the River Thames.
Dogfish have been found in Denton, Gravesend, 20 miles away from the capital, during a fishing experiment run by the City of London Corporation.
Just one dogfish had previously been found in the previous 49 years the experiment has been running, a sign that the Thames is becoming a much healthier river.
Four of the fish, up to 56cm in length, were discovered in a four-hour period as fishermen took part in the fishing competition on Saturday October 8. The competition has been used for the past 50 years to track the health of the river Thames.
A report into the 50th anniversary of the fishing experiment said: “This year was a near-record year for fish numbers. Whiting dominated the species as expected for the time of year. However other species including dab, eel, bass, plaice and dogfish were observed.
“With only one dogfish caught over the previous 49 years, it was a welcome surprise to record four, including a specimen of 56cm. Dogfish are plentiful in the estuary but not so common in the middle reaches. This is further evidence of positive change in water quality within the river Thames.”
The anglers also found 10 eels, between 32cm and 50cm in length, as well as six Bass, between 48cm and 9cm long, and 840 Whiting.
In total 879 fish were caught this year from nine different species. This was a huge improvement compared to last year when just 90 fish were caught and this year’s catch saw the highest number of fish since 2005 and the most species since 2008.
The City of London Thames Fishery Research Experiment has been held annually since 1973 and the City of London says it was originally set up “to show that the Thames is becoming a cleaner and a more healthy river and to encourage the public, by publicity, into becoming more conscious of their responsibility in preventing the pollution of the environment in general, and of the Thames in particular.”