Acanthobrama telavivensis re-inhabit area after improvement in water quality, ecological conditions, river authority says.

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.

Fish found only in Israel spotted in Yarkon River for first time in years – Haaretz

The return of the fish, called the Yarkon bleak, is seen as an encouraging sign indicating that efforts to clean up the Yarkon River.
By Zafrir Rinat | Oct.12, 2012 |

A species of ray-finned fish found only in Israel has been spotted in the center of the Yarkon River, an area the fish had abandoned for years because it was too polluted, the Yarkon River Authority announced on Thursday.

The return of the fish, called the Yarkon bleak, is seen as an encouraging sign about efforts to clean up the Yarkon River, which runs through Tel Aviv and flows to the Mediterranean Sea.

The bleak had been inhabiting the less polluted eastern part of the river when they were placed in the Tel Aviv University aquarium due to fears that part of the river could dry up.

They were recently returned to the river, but have stayed in the eastern section, until now.

There is still some sewage being dumped in the center of the Yarkon, but due to an improved sewage purification process, the water is considerably cleaner than it used to be. The bleak is not the only species recently sighted in the center of the river. Two months ago Yarkon River Authority officials reported that another species of fish, tilapia, has also returned to the central Yarkon.

In 1997 the river was so polluted that when a pedestrian bridge over the river collapsed during the Maccabiah Games, one Australian athlete was killed during the collapse itself and three died because of infections caused by exposure to the polluted water.