Superfish
Introduction

MISSION: SUPERFISH

Marine biologist and award-winning filmmaker Rick Rosenthal set out to capture on film the biggest, fastest, most dangerous gamefish in the sea — the ancient creatures known as billfish.

The largest of all billfish is the marlin. They top speeds of 60 miles an hour on migrations that can span 9,000 miles. The largest, always female, weigh in at over 1,000 pounds, and are known as “granders.” Ernest Hemingway immortalized the grander in The Old Man and the Sea, the story of an elderly fisherman locked in a life and death struggle with this apex predator. To Hemingway’s great disappointment, he himself never landed a grander, although his novella captures the impact of this huge and graceful creature.

Rosenthal’s pursuit of these exotic fish unfolds in NATURE’s Superfish. Two years in the making, Rosenthal’s documentary travels to the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans as well as the Caribbean Sea in pursuit of these giants of the deep. In one extraordinary scene, off Australia’s Cape York Peninsula, Rosenthal is shown swimming with a stunning giant female marlin and two courting males.

Throughout his journey, Rosenthal encounters commercial fisherman, anglers, and researchers, who are also out looking for billfish. The search has become increasingly difficult for everyone due to over-fishing of billfish and their prey, as well as the environmental degradation of the oceans, which has resulted in a dramatic decline in their populations. The trajectory of population decline in all large fish has been precipitously steep, estimated at 90 percent within the last half century.

In the 1950’s, sports fishermen — like those who flocked to Cabo Blanco, Peru in the heyday of “Marlin Boulevard” — were known for testing themselves against marlin with rods and reels. Today, some fisherman are defending billfish against commercial fishing fleets that, while going after the seafood we eat, kill these increasingly rare sport fish in their nets as so called accidental by-catch. In major part because of the absence of regulations that limit such by-catch, marlin and other billfish populations continue to decline. In the case of marlin, some anglers, frustrated with governmental inaction, have pressed for local bans on the sale of such fish, and have sought commitments from local restaurants not to serve marlin.

Rosenthal’s difficult quest to encounter a giant marlin in the wild, rewarded by his exceptional footage of this fabulous creature, not only offers a rare aesthetic and learning experience for viewers but may serve to awaken people to the need to preserve these remarkable billfish in their native habitats. Buy the DVD. This film premiered May 2008.

  • Steve Grover

    What stunningly beautiful and unusual marine imagery Rick Rosenthal has caught of a baby sailfish, as well as adult swordfish and marlin. A MUST SEE for any fisherman or admirer of marine life. Just incredible.

  • Andrew Gilmartin

    will this be available on DVD

  • Marlin Day

    This was a great show, I really enjoyed it (and not just because my name is Marlin!) I would love to see a book of this show. For that matter I am a librarian and I have found that there is a complete lack of children’s and popular books about billfish in general. We had a school class recently do reports on marlin and had to refer them to reference and Internet sources almost exclusively.

  • Magdalene Miller

    What a wonderful experience you had. I am from Thailand and live in Florida right now. Do you know that Sailfish and Marlin live in Southeast Asia too?

  • leanna

    cooooooooooooooooool! 101!

  • wowow

    since a long time i´ve decided not to eat aminals from the sea. i am not a vegetarian but there is no need to consume wild born animals. this wonderful and let me say lyric documentation moved me a lot and told me that this decision was the only right one. thank you very much for these wonderful pictures and this wonderful story! go on, more of these!

  • Kai Schreiber

    I enjoyed watching these overwhelming scenes in the blue water. I´ve seen Rick Rosenthals underwater experiences here on ARD (german television). Realy great. I´m a diver since 1993 and I must contribute that I can feel the reduction of big fish in our oceans while going on dive trips over the world. If everyone does think a little bit more about what he eats every day and where the food comes from, future human generations possibly get a chance what sea life looked like 20 years ago. Read Hans Hass (becoming 90 years these days) and see what he observed in the late 1940s when going for a simple dive trip in the Red Sea and compare with todays situation……..

  • http://alanszlosek.wordpress.com/2009/02/23/converging-currents/ Converging Currents « weekends are for leisure

    [...] Filed under: Uncategorized — alanszlosek @ 7:14 am The PBS Nature episode Superfish was enlightening on how much overfishing has occurred for sail-fish types: marlin, sailfish, etc. [...]

  • ruben garrido pena

    the most beautiful fish for me, billfish and to fish bill fishing,congratulation,lets take care the nature.

  • Mike

    Cool!

  • Alberto Reyes

    What a great experience to see those Giant, graceful fish and also the great lessons of overfishing.

  • Janie G

    Thanks Rick, for this wonderful documentary. It is so personal and intimate. The fish are fear and awe inspiring. And the footage is incredible and moving. This project is very well done.

  • KDelphi

    It didnt show last night! How can I be sure not to miss it again? My cable menu often doesnt line up with the actual shows…

  • Ralph Iglesias

    I loved seeeing this fish in action, so gracefull. We as people need to do more to insure this wild animal lives on forever. Awesome.

  • NATURE Online

    KDelphi – To find out when NATURE is on in your area, you can check your local listings by clicking the Schedule link at the top of the site.

  • Lou Perrone

    As a long-time catch & release fisherman (bill fish included)and a fan of Nature,congratulations are in order for this beautiful ,informative and enlighteneing episode.

  • Tom

    I nearly fell out of my chair when I say the hotel at Cabo Blanco in this story. My brothers and I stayed there in 1973 for 3 months. We have no pictures of our trip as the only camera was stolen. I started watching the show at that point so I don’t know what was said or shown before taht. Cabo Blanco has a very unique history. There were walls full of pictures of prominant people from all over the world. The fins were still on the posts leadin up to the hotel. If anyone else has any info or pictures of Cabo Blanco please let me know thanks

  • b

    Coolest documentary ever! So informative and educational, I was blown away by all the footage. Thanks

  • Lynn

    The greed of people are killing some of the worlds most stunning fish. Loved the documentary.

  • Revellanotvanella

    Watching “Superfish” second time this week–just came back from Baltimore Aquarium, excellent closer to the evening, my bf loving it too, baby sailfish unexpected bonus! learned so much and outside of Marlin, didn’t give cousins much thought, their just beautiful

  • Revellanotvanella

    –Twittering link to site, hoping others catch your show who already haven’t, we needs to relearn our human connection and importance to the sea–it covers 2/3 the earth!!

  • CAPT.PETER WADDINGTON

    ABSOLUTLY WONDERFUL, ALL GRANDER TYPE FISH SHOULD BE PROTECTED, EVEN THE GIANT HALIBUT I CHARTER FOR IN ALASKA…TIP OF THE HAT TO RICK…

  • Jackson Hill

    This was an awesome show. If you’re curious about the Cabo Blanco Club check out the SI issue from their vault (pg. 50 on the viewer):

    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/edb/reader.html?magID=SI&issueDate=19560319&mode=reader_vault

  • Rodney C. Eades

    Just a beautiful Docu! on the Sword fish! Is or will there be a dvd of the special? I hope so I have several friends who are salivating in the hopes for a DVD of this beautiful show. Could you possibly contact me via email if a DVD is available!!!!!

    RC Eades
    New Bern NC

  • NATURE Online

    For DVDs of this and other NATURE programs, please click the “shop” link at the top of the site.

  • Rodney C. Eades

    A superb Documentary! I was awestruck by the photography. Just a stunning visual experience. Thank you Nature!

  • ddddd

    Does anyone know where I can download the English subtitle of this film? Thanks

  • Jenny Lee

    Rick, Thank-you…Thank-you…Thank-you. Absolutely breathtaking!!!

  • Aaron

    I have fished for billfish, and I am a scuba diver. Billfish move great distances at great speed–I am simply amazed at the footage Rick was able to capture. Fantastic job Rick! I liked the DVD so much, that after the first viewing, I immediately played it again, the second time with my wife and children watching. Great conservation message also.

  • Mike

    Interesting! I hope that everyone had a great weekend!

  • Barry

    going marlin fishing next month in Kona, Hawaii. will see this film on our local PBS station sunday night at 8, and live in flagstaff, az.

    man am i pumped after seeing the previews. i may have to buy the DVD. i have caught striped marlin before which are not very big 100-125lbs at east cape, mexcio. going for the blues in kona should be an experience as they are much larger, but fishing is fishing. the fishing may be great but the catching just so so. i am a catch and release guy kinda guy. i am saddened seeing people standing beside their marlin hanging upside down on the dock with a happy grin on their face. that is not what it is all about.

  • Anjie Pham

    Awesome photography! However, it’s sad to me the direct impact we humans have on the growing extinction of these majestic marlin and billfish. The irony is the more beautiful some poor creature seems to us, the more we enjoy pursuing them even down the path of destruction. This seems to be our most basic and instinctive reaction to all things Nature.

    And I don’t find maiming (catch and release) fish any better than outright killing them either. Why should unnecessary pain and suffering be inflicted on animals in the name of game and sport? As privileged humans, don’t we have thousands of other means of peaceful entertainment at our disposal already? Why should we not be satisfied unless we cause fear, pain, or death on another living being who’ve done nothing to us?

  • duha

    i look forward to seeing it though i wonder if its on air yet i really enjoy nature shows did you know that. Nature has great timing but i might not see out back pelicans because guests are coming but i look forward to seeing it online i hope they put it on there though.I think there is Awesome photography! However, it’s sad to me the direct impact we humans have on the growing extinction of these majestic marlin and billfish. The irony is the more beautiful some poor creature seems to us, the more we enjoy pursuing them even down the path of destruction. This seems to be our most basic and instinctive reaction to all things Nature.

    And I don’t find maiming (catch and release) fish any better than outright killing them either. Why should unnecessary pain and suffering be inflicted on animals in the name of game and sport? As privileged humans, don’t we have thousands of other means of peaceful entertainment at our disposal already? Why should we not be satisfied unless we cause fear, pain, or death on another living being who’ve done nothing to us?It just not right its not fair I once had a dream that a man was killing a rat and i told him i will kill you if you kill him.That shows that even small animals mean something in this world.Every animal has a reason to live in this world we should not be controlling that imagine us as them.How would you feel.

  • Dustin Williams

    Great footage and information. I only hope we can make society aware of the depletion of our precious animals, resources, and environment.

  • http://dddsstwengbgf-ewrwer.net Yukiko Ulrich

    Leather cleaner and conditoner kits for all upholstery leathers,marine,domestic,automotive,aviation. Made by the people who supply the tanneries.

  • sing.mutdfc

    It’s good to offer. And I have been taught about this article. And will be used in everyday life.

  • Jeannie white

    I have never eaten fish or seafood. I stopped eating animal flesh when I was 19. My uncle was a game fisherman and I remember being on his boat in the waters off Los Angeles…and i would throw his bait into the water when he wasn’t looking. He had stuffed marlins on his walls. It made me sick. Watching your show im so miserable again. I hate what people do.

  • KARL GRUBE

    I have fished the Marlin and other billfish and inshore fish off Ecuador since 1965. Rick’s underwater film, “Superfish” is by far the best video on the market; it’s now available from PBS.org on disk. Active conservation and a war with the polluters will save the bill fish. Industrial Nets have to be eliminated, sport fishing catch and release programs only must be mandatory, and preservation of habitats. We know where the prime fishing/spawning waters are located throughout the oceans; we bill fishermen must get enforceable conservation legislation on the books to preserve the superfish that remain.

  • KARL GRUBE

    CONSERVATION is key to preservation of marine habitats for bill fish. The countries with ocean habitats for bill fish need an international treaty. Perhaps the United Nations could broker the bill fish habitat treaty. Coast Guard personnel and boats from the member nations could enforce the treaty.

  • Linda Gilleran

    When can we watch the entire show online? I want to share this!

  • sherrie bingham

    Awesome program. I found a marlin bill trophy at a local market. The fish was caught in cabo blanco in 1955 on the Miss Texas by C W Bliss. I was amazed the boat was shown on the program with the same date. Does anyone know anything about the man who caught this fish.

  • John P Lee

    Sherrie
    I am the grandson of Clarence White Bliss (C W),
    He lived in Cleveland Ohio and was a member of the USA fishing team.
    He fished with Hemmingway on several occasions.
    You have one of 3 trophies he had in his home, Two were Black Marlin and the third was a Blue Fin
    Tuna that weighed in at over 1000 lbs . The tuna was caught in Nova Scotia.
    The trophy you saw was only the bill and the tail fin. Included was the wire leader
    complete with the steel hooks. The base of he bill had a gold plaque with name, date.
    location,and weight of fish.
    Look online for T he Cleveland Plain Dealer +CW Bliss.
    There are several stories with pictures.
    He was alsoo a judge for the AKC (American Kennel Club).
    respond on this site wioth any addital questions.

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