For the first time in 50 years, Yarkon Bleak fish – known in Hebrew as the Lebanon fish – have been spotted in the once highly polluted middle portion of the Yarkon River.

Since the river became polluted in the 1950s, the Yarkon Bleak disappeared entirely from the river’s midsection and have not been seen since in this area between Nahal Kana and Sheva Tachanot, the Yarkon River Authority said. An endangered species, the freshwater Yarkon Bleak – known scientifically as Acanthobrama telavivensis – is restricted only to coastal rivers of Israel, excluding the Kishon River, according to data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

For years, this fish has occupied the clean portion of the Yarkon River between the riverside springs and Nahal Kana, but due to the shortage of water and unsuitable conditions, the fish were transferred from the river to a special treatment facility at Tel Aviv University. At the end of this project, which included Israel Nature and Parks Authority, Tel Aviv University and the Yarkon River Authority, the fish returned to that clean section of the river.

Only now, however, have the fish also begun to once re-inhabit the middle section of the river, in light of the substantial improvement in water quality and ecological conditions, according to the river authority.

“The presence of the fish is encouraging and indicates that our efforts in recent years are bearing fruit and life is returning to the river,” the Yarkon River Authority said.

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