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Strong turnout for Deeside premiere of salmon film Riverwoods

By Kirsty Brown

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The Deeside premiere of Riverwoods, a feature-length film about the plight of Scotland’s salmon, was held at The Barn in Banchory on March 28.

The evening screening attracted over 120 people, who joined a question and answer session afterwards with some of the documentary’s contributors, covering themes from across the linked crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

Produced by rewilding charity SCOTLAND: The Big Picture and narrated by Peter Capaldi, Riverwoods: An Untold Story is about the fractured connections between salmon and the lands through which their rivers flow.

Manager for the Dee Catchment Partnership Dr Susan Cooksley was on the panel responding to questions from the audience.

She said: “It was fantastic to see such a strong turnout to this spectacular film.

"Land managers and policy makers were a key target audience for this film and we had good representation from both sectors as well as the general public, with an engaging discussion covering everything from the types of trees we need to be planting to the benefits of learning the lessons from other river catchments and countries.”

A delta of the River Feshie, lined by regenerating riparian woodland, in the Cairngorms National Park.
A delta of the River Feshie, lined by regenerating riparian woodland, in the Cairngorms National Park.

River Operations Manager for the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board Edwin Third is another of the film’s contributors.

He said: “The current situation is bleak but thanks to the foresight and positive actions of many, including initiatives such as this film, there’s a growing awareness of the need to act, and restore river woodlands at a catchment scale to help secure the future of Atlantic salmon.”

Agreeing, Dr Cooksley is keen to see the momentum generated by the film translated into wider advocacy and action.

She said: “There is hope - and it lies in using nature-based solutions to restore our catchments, whether by adding large woody structures to waterways to create better spawning habitats for salmon, or by planting a mix of native woodland habitats that will sequester carbon, reduce erosion, provide shade and food for aquatic creatures, improve water quality and slow catchment run-off.

"The health of our rivers and the life they contain depend entirely on the health of the landscapes through which they flow, and both need our immediate attention.”

SCOTLAND: The Big Picture’s executive director, Peter Cairns, said: “The motivation behind Riverwoods is to inspire action.

"The film shows some amazing examples of what people are already doing but we need to roll this out across the whole of Scotland."

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