Attraction's sending art lovers fishy messages

THERE'S something fishy going on in South Tyneside.

A trio of giant "salmon" cubes are beaming out messages to those who pass the South Shields coast.

The mysterious objects are part of an interactive art project, the Tyne Salmon Trail, which celebrates the Tyne as England's premier salmon river.

The project has seen the creation of 10 cubes in total, each with a separate theme inspired by the textures, changing colours, movement and journey of the salmon.

The cubes will migrate along the River Tyne over the next year, following the fishes amazing route up river from the mouth of the Tyne to Kielder.

To signal the start of that journey, three of the cubes have been placed alongside the Conversation Piece – known affectionately as 'the Weebles' at Littlehaven Beach, South Shields.

Coun Tracey Dixon, lead member for culture and wellbeing, said: "The cubes look amazing and I'm sure they will stir up a lot of curiosity and interest among visitors and local people.

"Each cube is a reflection of the life cycle of a salmon in the Tyne River. Our cubes are themed on habitat, scales and changing colours.

"The Tyne is a major symbol in the regional identity of North East England, and this artwork is designed to serve as a celebration of the river, its heritage and its increasingly diverse ecosystem. The interactive aspect of the artwork makes it all the more intriguing because each cube emits a Bluetooth message.

"If you stand close enough, you can pick up the messages on a mobile phone, giving you a modern day keepsake to take away.

"I'm not revealing what the message is though – people will just have to come down and find out for themselves.

"We're getting three different cubes from the family of 10 early next month, and they will move on to the next stage of their journey in early August."

The Tyne's salmon stock began to increase in the 1960s due mainly to improved water quality in the river, having been virtually devoid of salmon in the 1950s.

Today, the Tyne is England's premier salmon fishing river and plays host to a plethora of different species, the number of which is growing year on year in line with the river's improving health.

The Tyne Salmon Trail project is the result of joint working between the Environment Agency, architects and cultural consultancy, xsite and Commissions North.

Through the project, artists Paula Turner and Malcom Green have worked intensively with Marine Park Primary School in South Shields.

For further details of the Tyne Salmon Trail project, log on to