Fish Out of Water: Ireland in Photos
Lifestyle photographer David Charbit captures the moody beauty of the Delphi Fishery in Ireland, a river and lake system with an innovative salmon hatchery program.
The region of Connemara in Ireland’s County Galway is known for its calm lake and river fishing conditions and has attracted fisherman for centuries. Photographer David Charbit journeyed to the scenic Delphi Fishery, which consists of a series of rivers and lakes – the mile-long Bundorragha River, along with the lakes of Fin Lough, Doo Lough and Glencullin Lough.
The fishery is managed by the Delphi Lodge, a charming hotel that provides accommodation for most visitors who come to fish in this rugged part of Ireland. In the 1990s, nearby salmon farms began decimating the Bundorragha River’s once-prolific sea trout population, leaving the Delphi Lodge in danger of losing its customer base.
The lodge fought back by launching a pioneering salmon hatchery program. The river already had a small wild salmon run, so a salmon hatchery program was a sustainable solution that could compensate for the dwindling sea trout population and keep fishermen coming back to the historic lodge.
The lodge now produces an extra 50,000 juvenile smolts (baby salmon) for release each year. Though these salmon come from a hatchery, they make the same trek north to the Atlantic Ocean as their wild relatives and eventually return to the Bundorragha River, the place of their birth. Years spent in the ocean make the hatchery salmon equally as challenging to catch as their wild peers; and while a catch-and-release policy applies to wild salmon, fishermen are required to catch and kill (and, presumably, eat) hatchery salmon to help protect the genetic integrity of their wild counterparts.
Perhaps its the satisfaction of the catch, but Charbit says you can taste the difference, with the hatchery salmon featuring a lean, flavourful flesh that contrasts with the fatty taste of farmed salmon that most of us our used to.