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Why are Atlantic salmon dying in greater numbers than ever before in history? Follow our journey as we seek answers to the mystery.
Why are Atlantic salmon dying in greater numbers than ever before in history? Follow our journey as we seek answers to the mystery.
333 backers pledged $63,810 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$63,810

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Deirdre Brennan's Kickstarter Video

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Still photograph of salmon & salmon migration map courtesy of the Atlantic Salmon Federation 

The film, Atlantic Salmon - Lost at Sea! takes the viewer on an epic journey through the mysterious world of the King of Fish. This is a quest to solve the mystery of the salmon’s life at sea and answer the question: why are salmon dying in greater numbers than ever before in their ocean environment and not returning to their native rivers?

Sizzler/ Salmon's Journey

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Our film tells the great mystery story of an iconic and ancient ocean creature – The King of Fish. It takes the viewer on a true life-quest to solve the urgent scientific puzzle: what is causing populations of the legendary Atlantic salmon to plummet in numbers as never before in history? "Lost At Sea" is an ambitious documentary film working with unique access to an international scientific investigation, the Salmon at Sea (SALSEA) programme coordinated by NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization) and with scientists worldwide. The film follows the incredible journey of salmon from the rivers of Europe and North America to the arctic feeding grounds around Greenland, all the while seeking answers to the mystery of they are dying at sea. The story unfolds before our eyes as we see the magic of new tracking methods to follow the salmon and learn about their mysterious life in the vast ocean.

With generous support from our sponsors, we have filmed for 80 days in 6 different countries . We began filming aboard a research vessel in 2009, the Celtic Explorer, documenting groundbreaking scientific work at sea as scientists followed young salmon to trace their migration paths in the ocean. Since then the team has traveled to rivers throughout the range of Atlantic salmon filming the important work being carried out to track, understand, save and restore Atlantic salmon.

Atlantic Salmon - Lost at Sea! Promo

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Salmon population graph courtesy of the Atlantic Salmon Federation

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a dynamic way to help fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors. Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands. In other words, if we don’t raise our goal of $50,000, (€44,000 / £30,000) we lose everything. And, incidentally, our goal of $50,000 is the bare minimum we need to complete the edit.

What is The Ocean Foundation and is my contribution tax deductible?

Atlantic Salmon: Lost at Sea! is a fiscally sponsored project of The Ocean Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization recognized by the IRS based in Washington, DC. Your donation is tax-deductible in the United States of America to the extent allowed by law.

Deirdre Brennan’s Journey 

Over the last 6 years, natural history filmmaker Deirdre Brennan has undertaken a project to follow the story of the scientific investigation to find the cause of the declining populations of wild Atlantic salmon. She and her team documented on film work being carried out to track salmon with the latest tagging methods, to restore and monitor rivers (including the dramatic removal of a dam), and to show the struggle for survival salmon face on their life’s journey. The team includes award-winning underwater wildlife cameraman Rick Rosenthal, internationally renowned scientist Ken Whelan, and major salmon conservation, scientific and angling organizations. They traveled to rivers in Canada, Maine, Iceland, Greenland, Ireland and Scotland and to sea, in the North Atlantic from the northernmost coasts of Ireland to the Arctic. The journey is now complete and with the exceptional footage shot, we are ready to start the edit.

What We Want to Create

Deirdre and the team captured more than 100 hours of beautiful, high-quality footage documenting the vast geographic range of the Atlantic salmon from their rivers of birth to their epic migration in the North Atlantic. They followed scientists on their quest to solve the mystery of why salmon are dying at sea – both in rivers and in the ocean. The film will reveal the latest methods being used to track salmon and the exciting information that research has yielded. This knowledge will help to unravel the mystery. Along the way, they discovered the ancient bond between salmon and man that dates back thousands of years. This bond makes the case for why it is vital to our very existence that wild Atlantic salmon continue to return to rivers throughout their range.

Our Goal

To create a documentary film that brings awareness to one of the critical issues of our time and by provoking discussion, will ultimately help to lead to solutions to sustain and support an iconic species, which is under increasing pressure.

Why Do You Want to Make This Film?

To raise awareness of this extremely important issue and urgent conservation work being done. The issues facing Atlantic Salmon need to be part of an international conservation, management and action plan. The salmon’s plight is symptomatic of other species in the ocean. This film will help to highlight the major issues at both a local and international level. When the film is complete we will take it on the road with a series of targeted screenings and talks, entry in film festivals, and work with a range distributors to bring it to broadcasters and streaming media. This matters because action needs to be taken now to save salmon and to understand the broad scope of the problem!!

How Will Your Money Be Spent?

The money will be used to pay for the post-production/edit costs. Crew (editor, sound designer, writer, etc.) equipment, music and graphics.

What Happens if you Go Over Target

If we are fortunate enough to go over target, we will use the extra money to make this film even more stunning by creating extra graphics, effects, and additional music. If we go over significantly, we will use the money to create a series of short films about specific issues relating to salmon for educational purposes. We will give these films to the different salmon conservation organizations we have worked with to raise awareness within their communities and beyond.

What Stage Are You At

We have all the footage we need. We have the post-production team in place and are ready to start the edit as soon as the funding is in place!

What is Your Timeline

The campaign will run from August 12th, 2015 – September10th 2015 . If this campaign is successful, we plan to enter the post production phase shortly after and complete the film by early 2016.

Apart From Pledging, Is There Anything Else I Can Do To Help?

Yes! Get involved. See our website for organizations that support conservation work for Atlantic Salmon like the Atlantic Salmon Federation, North Atlantic Salmon Fund, Atlantic Salmon Trust, NASCO (new Salsea tracking programme) and others. Also support our campaign by spreading the word – friends, family, everyone! Tweet and Facebook a link to this page!

What Happens If You Don’t Reach Your Goal?

We don’t get a penny. Kickstarter is all-or-nothing platform. If we don’t reach our goal, we can’t begin our edit. So please do help in any way you can, from giving us a donation at any level to spreading the word – everything helps!

What Will I Get If I Help You?

We have a list of rewards on the right! I hope you enjoy them at whatever level you choose to support us.

What If I Don’t Want the Reward and Just Want To Help You?

Then you are just amazing! Thank you so much for believing in us.

Sounds Good, But I’d Like To Speak to You.

It would be a pleasure to speak. – please email the team via Deirdre Brennan – Deirdre.Salmonfilm@gmail.com

Highlights of Where We Have Filmed

Irish Research Vessel: Celtic Explorer
Irish Research Vessel: Celtic Explorer
Salmon Aquaculture cages, Bay of Fundy, Canada
Salmon Aquaculture cages, Bay of Fundy, Canada
Scientists at Work on Celtic Explorer
Scientists at Work on Celtic Explorer
Dolphins Hunting Salmon, Scotland
Dolphins Hunting Salmon, Scotland
Veazie Dam Penobscot River, USA
Veazie Dam Penobscot River, USA
Arctic Char, Greenland
Arctic Char, Greenland
Salmon Net Fishermen, Greenland
Salmon Net Fishermen, Greenland
Attaching a Satellite Tag to a Salmon, Greenland
Attaching a Satellite Tag to a Salmon, Greenland
Kai Benson filming in Greenland
Kai Benson filming in Greenland
Rick Rosenthal Filming Salmon in Canada
Rick Rosenthal Filming Salmon in Canada
Coastline near Malin Head, northernmost point in Ireland
Coastline near Malin Head, northernmost point in Ireland
Éamon de Buitléar directing filming of migrating salmon smolts in Connemara, Ireland
Éamon de Buitléar directing filming of migrating salmon smolts in Connemara, Ireland
Haffjardara River, Iceland
Haffjardara River, Iceland
Salmon Leap at Cloghan, River Finn, Ireland
Salmon Leap at Cloghan, River Finn, Ireland
Tungeflot River Iceland
Tungeflot River Iceland

Risks and Challenges?

There are no risks with this project. We have completed all the filming and have all the footage we need. All we need is the last piece of the edit budget in order to start the post- production. We have the post-production team in place and are ready to start!

Risks and challenges

There are no risks. We have all the footage and are ready to start the edit once the final funding is in place.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    (approx. €9 / £6.45)
    Collage of 5 photographs to download of the stunning locations where we have filmed.
    Short clip of film to download
    A PERSONAL THANK YOU on our website and Facebook page. THANK YOU for your kind donation! It is hugely appreciated.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    (approx. €23 / £16)
    All of the above
    Plus a digital link to download the Director's cut of the film, when the film is complete (Dec. 2016).
    And a personal THANK YOU email from the team.

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    84 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    (approx. €46 / £32)
    All of the above
    Plus a link to download the Producer's "Best of List" of resources to further explore this subject.

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    34 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    (approx. €68 / £48)
    All of the above
    Plus 1 limited edition 8 x 10 printed image taken during the filming.

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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    (approx. €91 / £65)
    All of the above
    Plus a tee shirt with the logo of the film.
    Plus a handsome poster of classic salmon flies, courtesy of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.
    (Poster limited to 35)
    When the limit of posters is reached, you will receive instead 4 limited edition 8 x 10 printed images from the filming of Lost at Sea.

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    Reward no longer available 35 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    (approx. €91 / £65)
    All of the above (except poster is sold out)
    Plus a tee shirt with the logo of the film.
    Plus you will receive 4 limited edition 8 x 10 printed images from the filming of Lost at Sea.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    (approx. €228 / £161)
    All of the above (with the exception of the salmon fly poster)
    Plus a limited edition embroidered baseball cap with the logo of the film.

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  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    (approx. €320 / £225)
    2 rods for 1 day’s angling on a beautiful salmon river in Scotland – the South Esk River at Finavon. Chose either the Autumn (August to October) of 2015 or Spring of 2016. Subject to availability.
    (Limited to 5)
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt, baseball cap and your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated Delivery January 2016 (except for the Angling Reward)

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    (approx. €320 / £225)
    A very special box of 6 assorted salmon flies from the different rivers where we have filmed in Canada, Ireland, & Scotland
    (Limited to 25).
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    approx. €320 / £225)
    Summer Salmon, Grisle, & Sea Trout!
    2 rods for 1 day’s angling on a beautiful salmon river in Scotland – the South Esk River at Finavon. June, July, August 2016 (Subject to availability).
    (Limited to 5)
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt, baseball cap and your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated Delivery January 2016 (except for the Angling Reward)

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    2 Full Days of Fishing on the beautiful Erriff River in Connemara - one of Ireland's premiere salmon fishing rivers! (2 Days for 1 rod)
    Delphi Adventure Centre
    Valid April - Sept. 2016. T&C's Apply. Subject to Availability.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt, baseball cap and your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated delivery January 2016 (except for Angling Reward)

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    1 days fishing for 2 rods in wild and beautiful Connemara on the Dawros/Kylemore fishery in Ireland. 2016 fishing Season.
    Thank you Donagh O'Donaghue and the Dawros/Kylemore fishery!
    Subject to availability. Limited to 5 rewards.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt, baseball cap and your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated delivery Jan. 2016 except for Angling Reward

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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    Fish the famous Blackwater River in Ireland one of the premiere salmon rivers in Europe!
    2 rods for 1 days fishing. Sept. 2015 or 2016 fishing season. Thank you Justin Green of Ballyvolane House!
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt, baseball cap and your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    (approx. €456 / £322)
    Smolt tag number from the Atlantic Salmon Federation. Each smolt (young salmon) is fitted with a uniquely numbered acoustic tag and tracked from the Miramichi or Restigouche River in Eastern Canada on its migration. You will receive a report from ASF of your smolt’s progress!
    (Limited to 25)
    Plus a special signed poster of the film.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.

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    Pledge $750 or more About $750

    (approx. €685 / £484)
    VIP visit to NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization) headquarters in Edinburgh to meet with the Secretary General, Dr. Peter Hutchinson. If travel is not possible, a special 20 minute Skype conversation will be arranged.
    Plus a special signed poster of the film.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.

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    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    (approx. €913/ £645)
    Pair of tickets to a special screening party in NYC, Edinburgh, or Galway when the film is complete.
    Plus lunch with the producer/director in NYC and private tour of the exclusive Explorers Club.
    Plus a special signed poster of the film.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.

    Estimated delivery December 2016 (for screening/ other rewards January 2016)

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    (approx. €2,283 / £1,613)
    Atlantic Salmon Federation pop up tag number (limited to 10). Adult salmon are tagged with pop off tags to track them on their journey. You will receive a report from ASF of your salmon’s progress! Pair of tickets to a special screening party in NYC, Edinburgh, or Galway when the film is complete.

    Plus a special signed poster of the film. Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated Delivery January 2016 (for report from ASF)
    December 2016 (for screening party & film credit)
    January 2016 (all other prizes)

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    (approx. €4,565 / £3,226)
    Dinner for 2 with the Producer in NYC
    (2) tickets to a private screening party on NYC, Edinburgh, or Galway when the film is complete.
    Plus an Angel Producer credit on the film.
    Plus a special signed poster of the film.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated delivery December 2016 (for screening/ other rewards January 2016)

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    (approx. €9,131 / £6,454)
    5 days for 2 in Ireland at a period Georgian country house in County Limerick & 3 full days of guided fishing on Ireland’s great salmon rivers - the Corrib in Galway, the Shannon at Castleconnell, and the Blackwater River in Waterford or equivalent depending on water conditions at the time of your visit! Producer Deirdre Brennan and professional angler, filmmaker, and scientist, Ken Whelan will accompany you. (Covers all meals, 4 nights lodging and 3 full days of guided fishing. Travel to Ireland not included). Fishing Season 2016.

    Plus 4 tickets to private screening party in New York, Edinburgh or Galway when the film is complete.
    Plus a Patron Producer credit on the film.
    Plus a special signed poster of the film.
    Plus prizes 1-4, the tee shirt & baseball cap & your name listed under “Special Thanks” in the credits.
    Estimated delivery December 2016 (for screening party / other rewards January 2016)

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Funding period

- (32 days)