Clovelly’s silver darlings caught on film

PUBLISHED: 13:14 09 December 2014

Clovelly herring fishing at dawn

Clovelly herring fishing at dawn


It’s Silver Darlings season - local, sustainable and nutritious Clovelly Herrings are now available in North Devon up until Christmas and Boat Stories has a film to get you in the mood.

Filming Boat Stories at ClovellyFilming Boat Stories at Clovelly

Fishing for Clovelly Herring is a scenic and moving short film featuring traditional herring fisherman Stephen Perham.

Producer Jo Stewart-Smith tells us why this is a film she has been eager to make for some time “When I first met Stephen, Clovelly lobster and herring fisherman and harbour master, around seven years ago I was both inspired and fascinated by what he had to say.”

“A fisherman who heads out on his own in a tiny open boat, with only oars or sail, into Bideford Bay; passionate about what he does, determined to keep a tradition going – against the odds, captured my imagination and I always knew he would make a great film and tell a great story.”

Fishing for Clovelly Herring is not just a tale of a disappearing way of life but a fascinating glimpse into the tight knit community of this unique North Devon village whose cobbled streets are traffic free. We see brothers, sisters, cousins and children all celebrating the heritage of Clovelly at its famous herring festival. We experience the tranquility of the little harbour as Stephen and his cousin Peter Braund row out to cast their nets at dawn and see their resigned but amused reaction to some cheeky little whiskered poachers!

Fishing for Clovelly herrings with Stephen PerhamFishing for Clovelly herrings with Stephen Perham

“I was really keen to film this boat story as it ticks all my boxes and, following a recurring Boat Stories theme, combines wildlife, conservation and sustaining local communities through traditional methods into one great story.” says cameraman Simon Vacher “Filming Stephen’s story boat to boat using a radio microphone meant we got some really great sequences and the changing morning light brought a magical quality to the calm water.”

Clovelly herrings are only caught up until Christmas so now is your chance to buy local and enjoy the silver darlings, supporting this sustainable fishing method and low impact way of life.

Stephen Perham says “If you can’t get people to start eating the herrings, then youngsters like my nephew Joe won’t have any future in it.”

He concludes “ Fishing in the picarooner, rowing up the shore, is probably not for everybody but I don’t want to be the last one that does it. It’s the knowledge of the coastline, the tides, mending and setting nets, you lose all those skills. And once they’ve gone you never get them back. Never.”

You can read more about the five minute film Fishing for Clovelly Herring and find out where to buy fresh fish on the Boat Stories website.

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