New Éamon de Buitléar Film helping Salmon Conservation

No Salmon Fishing - a sign at Valley of Diamonds, Bray, opposite the Diamond Valley Apartments. A new film by Éamon de Buitléar hopes to help increase the numbers of salmon in Irish and International waters.

Wildlife filmmaker Éamon de Buitléar is shooting an important new international documentary about the life of the Atlantic Salmon. Why this is of significance to us is explained in this post.

You’re not allowed anymore to fish for Salmon in the River Dargle flowing through Bray, Co. Wicklow.

Sea Trout is still fished within season, though with careful restrictions applied by the local Dargle Anglers Club. In the 1800s our river was so famous for the quality and size of its fish that trout caught in Bray were traded in the markets of London. But over the past 20 years fishermen have been notice a sad decline in the size and number of fish in the Dargle.

Part of the problem is the illegal poaching of fish in Bray. Poachers use illegal methods to catch fish, operate without permits and in a manner that ignores the need for fish to be protected during their breeding season so that fish populations can be self-sustaining. 

It is particularly important that salmon are allowed to complete their awe-inspiring journey back from the Atlantic Ocean upstream to their own place of birth to spawn new eggs. A female salmon swimming upstream through Bray carries in her about 5000 eggs.

The stretch of river between the Valley of Diamonds and the sea is notorious for poaching, particularly the part through the People’s Park. Bailiffs from the Fisheries Board patrol regularly but they need help from the general public. If you spot what you suspect may be poaching or pollution in the river act responsibly and report it to the Fisheries Board on their 24 hour free phone number 1890 34 74 24. We all need to do our bit to ensure that today’s children grow up in an Ireland that still has fish in its rivers.

But there is another serious threat to Irish Salmon. For some time scientists have been aware that the numbers of Atlantic salmon returning from the sea to the rivers to spawn has been dropping at a frightening level. Fewer and smaller fish are returning and the number of Atlantic salmon in the sea has halved in the past 30 years. Climate change and associated alterations in the plants that salmon eat is suspected to be a cause. Also suspected is the effect of escaped farmed salmon breeding with their wild cousins, diluting some of the survival characteristics in the gene pool.

Now a new initiative is underway to scientifically chart the migration patterns of the Atlantic salmon. As part of this study, leading Irish film-maker and former Valley of the Diamonds resident Éamon de Buitléar has teamed up with Emmy nominated producer Deirdre Brennan and renowned marine scientists to film a major new international documentary following  the Atlantic salmon from its native rivers in Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Canada and the USA, down to the river estuaries, out into the open ocean, up to the Arctic and back home again.

The film Atlantic Salmon- Lost at Sea which is being filmed from May to September 2011, promises to be the most complete history of Atlantic salmon ever. The scientific studies behind the film are essential to any attempts to ensure the survival of salmon populations in our rivers.

Éamon de Buitléar (born 1930) spent most of his life living and working in Bray’s Valley of Diamonds on the river Dargle. His autobiography ‘A Life in the Wild’, which includes a captivating account of his childhood living on the River Dargle at the Valley of Diamonds, was published by Gill & McMillan in 2004. Read more about him here http://www.diamondvalley.ie/Film.html

To read more about the new film Atlantic Salmon- Lost at Sea and to view a trailer of the film check out the website http://www.atlanticsalmonlostatsea.net/ 

Read more here about the Dargle Anglers Club and other sporting clubs in Bray  http://www.diamondvalley.ie/Sports.html

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The editor of this diary lives in Diamond Valley, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Diamond Valley is a modern apartment community in the old setting of the Valley of Diamonds, alongside the river Dargle. Contact editor@diamondvalley.ie
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