Archive for September, 2009

Gathering of Giants – Whale Sharks

Posted in conservation, production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

This May we began work on a 3 part series call “Gathering of Giants – Whale Sharks of the Meso-American Reef”. In three special locations along the Meso-American reef, whale sharks gather in numbers during certain times of the year, creating some of the most impressive marine aggregations found anywhere on Earth. What draws them here?  Where do the come from and where do they go? And, what is being done to protect them?

The target audience for this film is conservationists, dive tourists, eco-tourists and adventure travelers. We travel to Gladden Spit Belize, Isla Mujeres/Holbox Mexico and Utila Honduras to document in full HD, the amazing aggregations of whale sharks. Through first hand documentation and interviews with researchers and park rangers, we reveal what draws these gentle giants to these special locations and unravel some of the mysteries of where the whale sharks come from and where they go to. And finally, we learn about the measures that have been put in place to ensure these aggregations continue into the future.

The goal of this film is to reach a broader audience who will be captivated by the impressive footage of the whale shark aggregations and will also learn how easily these aggregations could be destroyed. We will highlight how certain organization and individuals are working hard to ensure that never happens. Through engaging visual footage and inspiring conservation stories, viewers will be motivated to get involved and support future measures to protect these gathering places.

Our first stop on the journey takes us to Gladdens Spit, Belize, where 10’s of thousands of snappers spawning attract dozens of whale sharks. Working in partnership with SEA and The Nature Conservancy we are able to shoot some amazing footage and learn a lot about the behavior and migrations of the snappers and whale sharks. We created a short promo video as a thank you to Isla Marisol Resort for all their support!

Our second stop on the journey takes us to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where over 400 whale sharks were discovered feeding on fish eggs. It was an event never before documented! On our last day in Isla Mujeres, our friends from The Nature Conservancy joined us to experience the sharks. In addition to an exhilerating day of whale shark interactions, we documented the scientists fish egg collection efforts and learned more about the science and conservation initiatives in this area. We created a short promo video as a thank you to Keen M International for all their support!

San Diego Undersea Film Festival – Selected

Posted in conservation, production, video with tags , , , , , , , on September 12, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

Sailfish: House of Sailing Daggers was featured in this years San Diego UnderSea Film Festival.

House of Sailing Daggers

Each year during the winter months, nutrient rich currents flowing north push up onto the shelf of Isla Mujeres, Mexico, drawing in large shoals of sardines and minnows. Following these baitfish are great numbers of sailfish which, working together, break apart these shoals and create some of the most amazing baitball spectacles on earth. Braving dangerous conditions and open seas, the team became one of the few film crews to shoot this aggregation – creating a documentary short.

Video: House of Sailing Daggers

Daram Marine Reserve

Posted in conservation, news, video with tags , , , , , , , on September 10, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

The Raja Ampat Islands are situated in the north west of Papua, Indonesia, and cover an area of approximately 6,962 sq. km. Situated in the heart of the coral triangle, the area is home to some of the worlds most bio-diverse reef communities with recent studies stating that the reefs of this area are perhaps at the very centre of world bio-diversity. We intend to protect a total area of 450 sq. miles within this region that contains some of its most pristine reefs.

Significant groundwork has been laid toward this end including:

  • Established marine protected area of approximately 200 sq. miles that will be included in this area
  • Existing marine protected area is absolute no-take zone as will be the new marine reserve
  • Implemented management and patrol system with an impressive 3 year track record
  • Obtained buy-in and participation of local community in its protection and maintenance
  • Created financial model to insure local community shares in the success of the new marine reserve
  • Established a patrol and enforcement plan that will assure the sanctity of the marine reserve
  • Obtained head of fisheries endorsement and commitment to zone the marine reserve as tourism only
  • On the ground presence to oversea establishment and operations of reserve
  • NGO partners to provide administrative, training and scientific support

With much of the groundwork laid to establish the Daram Marine Reserve, we are now seeking funding to enable us implement the plan. This incredible area is under immediate and severe threat of ruin from destructive fishing practices that have encroached upon the area. As such, there is little time to waste in setting up the reserve. We must act fast or risk losing one of the most pristine, bio-diverse and beautiful reef systems left on earth.

Daram Marine Reserve Video