Superfish

About

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.

Production Credits Print

Television Credits

Narrated by
F. MURRAY ABRAHAM

Produced by
KATYA SHIROKOW

Principal Photography by
RICK ROSENTHAL

Additional Photography by
KAI BENSON
DOUG ANDERSON
MALCOLM LUDGATE
SHANE MOORE

Written by
KATE YOUNGDAHL

Edited by
CHRIS AIKENHEAD

Sound Design
DOM CAMARDELLA
ROBERT BRADLEY

Animation
LIVE WIRE® PRODUCTIONS

Music Composed by
LENNY WILLIAMS

Scientific Advisors
DR. BARBARA BLOCK
DR. ERIC PRINCE
DR. IVAN SCHWAB

Technical Support
JIM KNOWLTON

Researcher
KIMBERLY WHITE EHRLINGER

Artwork
CORINNE CHAIX

Thanks To:

AUSTRALIA
Captain Tim Dean
Sonia George
Andy Dow
Dave Bogle

COSTA RICA
Captain Richard Chellemi
Captain Rick Ruhlow
Andy Byatt
Crew of R/V Proteus

FLORIDA
Captain Tim Palmer
Dennis Roseman
Justin Lerner
Eric Orbesen
Sandy Davis
R.J. Boyle Studio
Lewis Marine
Gail Morchower
International Game Fish Association

MEXICO
Captain Anthony Mendillo
Fernando Marthen
Contoy Island National Park

PERU/ECUADOR
Thomas Hollihan Bruckmann
Captain Jesus Ruiz
Additional Thanks To:
Cabo Blanco Fishing Club
Alfred C. Glassell, Jr.
Earl Theisen Archives
Dave Ruddick
Heidi Geiser
Mark McMahon
Mike Marantz
Gaby Bastyra
Michael Rothschild
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Special Thanks To:
The Marviva Foundation

© 2008 Wild Logic

For NATURE

Series Editor
JANET HESS

Supervising Producer
JANICE YOUNG

Senior Producer
LAURA METZGER

Producers
IRENE TEJARATCHI
JILL CLARKE

Production Manager
JULIE SCHAPIRO THORMAN

Production Assistant
JAYNE JUN

Manager
EILEEN FRAHER

Re-Recording Mixer
ED CAMPBELL

Online Editor
CHRIS CONNOLLY

Offline Editor
STACEY DOUGLASS MOVERLEY

Series Producer
BILL MURPHY

Executive In Charge
WILLIAM GRANT

Executive Producer
FRED KAUFMAN

Web Credits

Director of Production
DANIEL B. GREENBERG

Producer
TANNER VEA

Production Assistant
DANIEL ROSS

Writers
"A Warning to Seafood Lovers"
by ELYSE EISENBERG
"Cabo Blanco and Its Marine Life"
by TANNER VEA

Designer
MICHAEL DIMAURO

Creative Director
NICK MILLER

Pagebuilding
BRIAN SANTALONE

Technical Director
BRIAN LEE

Director of Digital Strategy
DAVID HIRMES

Photos for "Overview," "Cabo Blanco and Its Marine Life," "A Warning to Seafood Lovers," "Billfish Field Guide," and "Resources" © Rick Rosenthal. Other photos from "Superfish."

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