AN inquiry into the death of dozens of salmon and trout in a famous Scottish fishing river has been launched.

It is believed more than 50 adult fish have been found dead over an almost 18-mile stretch of the Spey since September 9.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) said it had not found any evidence of recent pollution but was monitoring the situation.

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Samples have been taken from water and dead fish at sites along the rover between Grantown-on-Spey in the Highlands and Knockando in Moray.

The Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate said the samples would be analysed.

Director of the Spey Fishery Board Roger Knight said the numbers of dead fish had caused alarm.

“If it was just the odd dead fish being found we perhaps might not think that was anything unusual, but we suspect in excess of 50 dead adult fish have so far been found, and it could be more than that," Knight said.

He added that the board was working with the local Sepa team to identify any potential source or cause, including a pollution incident.

Sepa was alerted to the fish deaths on Monday September 11.

Senior manager for environmental performance David Ogilvie said: “We took samples of water and carried out a visual inspection looking for evidence of pollution including discolouration, sewage fungus, foaming and odour.

“We found no evidence of a recent pollution event.”

He continued: “We will continue to monitor the river, follow up on any new reports or concerns and engage with the Spey Fishery Board and other relevant authorities to try and determine the cause of the reported fish mortality.”