Creations

 

THE RIVER HERRING MIGRATION SERIES
A COMPLICATED PATH - PART 2: THE RECOVERY

STATUS: PENDING RELEASE
GENRE: DOCUMENTARY

DURATION: 01h:27m:43s

SERIES DURATION: 06h:25m:46s

MAIN SOUNDTRACK: ENGLISH, STEREO

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9

AVAILABLE FORMATS: DVD-9x2, CDx1

FILMING LOCATIONS: MAINE,  MASSACHUSETTS - UNITED STATES

SCREENINGS: VISIT THE EVENT PAGE OF SCIENCES DIVISION'S FACEBOOK PAGE FOR LATEST UPDATES

River Herring Migration Series - ORDER ONLINE
SCIENTISTS AND PRESENTERS
ABOUT THE SERIES

The River Herring Migration series is a 5 part, 6 hour independent production by Illuminating Minds Media, focused on the natural history, latest science and conservation issues surrounding the River Herring. Three years in the making and spanning across tens of river systems across Massachusetts and Maine, the series weight of content draws on extensive filming in the field,  the expertise of over 30 scientists, naturalists, activists and herring experts  as well as the latest in the scientific literature for producing a timely investigation into the state of River Herring across the Eastern Atlantic.

STORYLINE

Each spring, many rivers along eastern coastlines of the United States, witness the arrival of River Herrings that mysteriously materialize from the sea. Their dancing reflections on the waters’ surface signal their mission to reach spawning grounds; an important cue to many predators lined up to feast on a seasonal bounty.

 

Blueback Herring and Alewife are pelagic, anadromous, schooling fish, commonly referred to as River Herring. They undertake seasonal migrations in response to changing water temperatures and diel vertical migrations in response to prey movement and availability.

 

As planktivores, River Herrings serve as a critical link in marine food webs by transferring energy to a diverse multitude of life-forms, both at sea and on land. Their immense ecological and economical importance is often measured by numerous species that prey on them: tuna, haddock, cod, striped bass, whales, dolphins and a wide range of seabirds.

 

River Herrings were once so prolific that humans were said to “cross rivers on their backs.” Today, decimated herring runs represent the former shadow of the million strong runs of a distant past.

 

In spite of their presence among human settlements for centuries, many aspects of their migration, biology and behavior are shrouded in mystery. What is the current state of our scientific understanding of herring species and what does the future hold for their dwindling biomass?

 

We seek to reveal answers in a five-part documentary series, aimed at capturing a comprehensive scientific portrait of the species.

 

Using advanced computer simulations, artful cinematography, a powerful soundtrack and strong content derived from hundreds of scientific publications and insightful interviews with leading experts, the series will present science-based storylines in an informative and drama-packed story of the River Herring migration.

 

The series presents a comprehensive picture of the natural history of the migration event and the complex mosaic of life-forms that revolves around River Herring, highlighting their dilemma and providing insights into the future of the species. The series will challenge widely held assumptions about the known and the unknown components of herring biology. We capture herring behavior in new ways and bring complicated sets of conservation topics into sharp focus.

 

From the depth of the Atlantic Ocean to streams that are a few inches deep, a marathon of analysis presented by a panel of  scientists, researchers, activists, businessman and herring experts reveal a complete breakdown of the latest on conservation strategies  as we become familiar with a complicated  path ahead  for restoring the species.

MEDIA EXCERPTS
DVD CHAPTERS BY TOPIC

HABITAT

(1) Habitat availability as a key component of successful restoration and restocking operations.

(2) Dramatic changes in herring population dynamics in the St. Croix River in Maine, following periods of opening and closing of habitats.

(3) Current River Herring's distribution along the gradients of age and growth.

 

 

SCIENCE AND CONSERVATION

(1) The emergence of the ecosystem based management derived from new models based on the Mathematics of Complex Systems.

(2) The promise of linking genetic tags from River Herring stocks with the bycatch data at sea to identify and manage at risk populations.

(3) Proposed genetic structure of Alewives and Bluebacks along the Eastern Atlantic.

(4) Genetic differentiation between Maine and Massachusetts’ River Herrings and its significance for the species as a whole.

 

UNKNOWNS

(1) The many unknowns surrounding the basic natural history of the herring species and its impact on restoration.

(2) Data gathering faults and limitations in modeling of the population dynamics due to large number of unpredictable variables affecting fish reproductive dynamics.

(3) Difficulties in measuring the biotic and abiotic variables behind the recruitment processes affecting the output capacity of the spawning grounds.

(4) Night time migration and lack of methodology to capture the size of the true runs under the cover of darkness.

(5) Challenges and inaccuracies in connection with the volunteer driven data collection.

(6) Undefined restoration goals and factors affecting the post-restocking success and accidental recolonization.

 

FISH LADDERS

(1) Costly and maintenance heavy requirements of fish ladders as a solution for providing fish passage ahead of a dam or other migratory barriers.

(2) The concrete vs. Pool and Weir fish ladders vs. a free flowing river.

(3) Beaver constructed dams and natural falls that often occur near or parallel to fish ladders.

 

RESTORATION

(1) The first steps in initiating a successful migratory fish restoration project.

(2) The great success story of the Kennebec River restoration and the Sebasticook River in Maine, USA.

(3) Combination of natural and human-induced factors that have resulted in comparatively larger biomass of River Herrings in Maine vs. other regions to the south.

 

ECOLOGICAL SERVICES

(1) The impact of herrings on commercial species such as Bluefin Tuna.

(2) Herring restoration as means of removing excess Phosphorus in urbanized water bodies.

(3) The environmental services of herrings and the vast network of species that they feed.

(4) A comparative analysis between River Herring and Atlantic Salmon restoration.

 

REGULATIONS

(1) The effectiveness of regulating harvest quotas, spawning habitats, water resources and other herring related issues are debated.

(2) Herrings caught among human imposed political and geographical boundaries with different sets of conflicting regulations and management bodies.

(3) Disconnected local, federal and international entities who are focused on a narrow agenda, often detached from the big picture.

(4) The long political battles within various interest groups for access to resources, as exemplified by decades long activism of Pine duBoise of the Jones River Watershed Association.

(5) The ubiquitous influence of organized politics for manipulating water resources and life forms they contain.

(6) The emerging role of responsible and sustainable marine businesses in conservation.

 

ACTIVISM

(1) The importance of public outreach and education surrounding the migratory species, restoration efforts and difficulties it entails.

(2) The public disconnect and lack of awareness regarding issues affecting rivers and watersheds.

(3) Use of fertilizer and unnecessary water use at the height of dry season and proposed solutions.

(4) Solutions for countering effects of the runoff discharge into the rivers from the streets and an aging sewage system including rain gardens and native plant gardening.

 

CLOSING

Concluding thoughts on the future of herrings and the interconnected food web that revolves around them.

 

CREDITS

RESEARCHED, PRODUCED, DIRECTED, SHOT AND EDITED BY: SHERVIN AZAD ARYA

SERIES COMPOSER AND MUSIC PRODUCER : CHRISTOPHER RENNA - CHROMATOPHONE PRODUCTIONS

EXECUTIVE AND SERIES PRODUCER: SHERVIN AZAD ARYA

MOTION GRAPHICS, ANIMATIONS, SCORING DIRECTOR, SOUND DESIGN AND AUDIO MIX: SHERVIN AZAD ARYA

ADDITIONAL FOOTAGE: CHRISTOPHER RENNA | ALEX MANSFIELD

ADDITIONAL STILLS: MICHAEL ARMSTRONG | GIORGI MEHURCHLISHVILI

SUPPLEMENTARY ANIMATIONS: NASA IMAGERY | SCIENTIFIC VISUALIZATION STUDIO

AERIAL MAPS: GOOGLE EARTH |  BING

SPECIALIZED FILMING SYSTEMS ENGINEER: MARC DAVIDSON | MYSTIC MOTION CONTROL

HONORARY PRODUCERS: ED LOFGREN | PHILIP LOFGREN

 

PANEL OF INTERVIEWEES:​ MICHAEL ARMSTRONG | DAVID CAVANAUGH | BRADFORD CHASE | JONATHAN DEROBA | SCOTT DOWD | PINE DUBOIS | PATRICK HERRON | ED LOFGREN | PHILIP LOFGREN | LESLIE KAUFMAN | EKONGKAR SINGH KHALSA | EMILY KLEIN | JAKE KRITZER | NATE GRAY | ALEX MANSFIELD | JO ANN MURAMOTO | JOHN SHEPPARD | ROBERT STEVENSON | THEODORE WILLIS | DEB WILSON | SAMANTHA WOODS

 

SCIENTIFIC ADVISORS: BEN GAHAGAN | CHARLIE INNIS | DAVID REMSEN | SCOTT ELZEY | ANDREW MURPHY | BRAD SCHONDELMEIER | JACKSON STEPHEN | GREG MERTZ

 

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS: JACKIE ANDERSON | GEORGE COMISKEY | JAMIE COURNANE | JIM DRYSDALE | TERI FRADY | JOSEPH GODLEWSKI | KARSTEN HARTEL | STEVE HICKEY | GLEN JOHNSON | PATRICK JOHNSON | JOHN LAPORTE | CAROL LYNN ALPERT | TONY LACASSE | GEORGE LORING | ALYCIA MARKOWSKI | MEGHNA MARJADI | DAVID MOUNTAIN | BETH MESERVE MACBLANE | GEORGE MASON | SARAH MACDONALD | IAIN MACLEOD | KRISTY OWEN | JEFF MOSCHELLA | MARC PAYNE | JEFFREY PIERCE  | ARTHUR POPPER | TRICIA PRIES | BILL ORPHAN | JOHN REINHARDT | MICHAEL RIPPLE | NORMAN SMITH | DIANA AND RUSS WILLIAMS | KAREN VALE | JACK VAN LOAN | MINKA VANBEUZEKOM | DIANE WINN | BRIAN YELLEN | REGGIE ZIMMERMAN

 

ILLUMINATING MINDS MEDIA WISHES TO THANK: 3A MARINE SERVICE, INC. | ALEWIFE HARVESTERS OF MAINE | BASS PRO SHOPS -​ FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS | BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT - THE BOSTON UNIVERSITY | BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT - THE​ UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND | BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT - THE UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS IN BOSTON | BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT - THE TUFTS UNIVERSITY​ | BUREAU OF SEA-RUN FISHERIES AND HABITAT ​-​ THE MAINE DEPARTMENT OF MARINE RESOURCES | DAMARISCOTTA MILLS FISH LADDER RESTORATION | DEERFIELD RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION | ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND | EDENTON NATIONAL FISH HATCHERY | ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENT - THE​ UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE | ICHTHYOLOGY DEPARTMENT - T​HE HARVARD UNIVERSITY​ | JONES RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION | MASS AUDUBON | MARINE BIOLOGICAL LABORATORY AT WOODS HOLE, MASSACHUSETTS | MASSACHUSETTS DIVISION OF MARINE FISHERIES (DMF) | MAINE STATE AQUARIUM​ | MARINE UNIT AT THE EVERETT POLICE DEPARTMENT MASSACHUSETTS | MUSEUM OF SCIENCE IN BOSTON​ | MYSTIC RIVER WATERSHED ASSOCIATION | NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE AT THE NATIONAL OCEANIC AND ATMOSPHERIC ADMINISTRATION (NOAA)​ | NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM | NEW ENGLAND WILDLIFE CENTER | NORTH AND SOUTH RIVERS WATERSHED ASSOCIATION | US FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE | WAMPANOAG NATIVE AMERICAN HOMESITE - T​HE PLIMOTH PLANTATION | WOODS HOLE OCEANOGRAPHIC INSTITUTION (WHOI)

 

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