Geno McDermott ’08 produces new Animal Planet series Cold River Cash

Last year alone, Maine's eel fishing business was worth almost $40 million. Gettysburg College alumnus and video producer Geno McDermott ’08 has captured dynamic insights into this lucrative enterprise in his new eight-part documentary series Cold River Cash on Animal Planet.

The series follows Maine river fishermen in their fiercely competitive two-month quest to catch baby American eels (also known as elver eels), creatures craved by the Asian market.

McDermott, CEO of BLACKFIN Productions, a video production agency in New York City, is the creator and executive producer of the addictive reality series which began airing on January 2.

A psychology and English double major at Gettysburg, McDermott began shooting and editing videos on campus during his senior year, including an informational video that is still currently used by the Information Desk in the College Union Building.

Following his graduation, he hit the high seas before jumpstarting a career in electronic media.

"I left Gettysburg to become a commercial fisherman for a year and then went on to work at various production companies in NYC," McDermott said. "I was able to climb the professional ladder by starting as an intern. I gradually worked up into my current position as an executive producer."

In March 2012, McDermott became curious about eel fishing in Maine after reading an article in The New York Times. He decided to make the trek North with fellow Gettysburgian Andrew Leblanc ’08 – a Maine native – to gather more information about this exciting industry.

Tripod“It wasn’t long before Andrew showed me where the eel fishing took place that we met some true eel fishermen,” said McDermott, who spent three months on location gathering footage and conducting interviews. “I began putting together a short promo that I sold to Animal Planet in the weeks that followed our trip.”

McDermott's hard work paid off, providing him the opportunity to create BLACKFIN. The agency has produced footage for popular television channels such as The Discovery Channel and The History Channel, in addition to Animal Planet.

Cold River Cash dives into the lives of three teams of fishermen – the Eelinators, Grinders, and Maineiacs – who all work to claim the best fishing spots and catch as many baby American eels as possible. The fishing must occur within a two-month window due to state law, so the teams invest all of their energy, working around the clock to snag the highly profitable eels.

LakeThe price of baby American eels have fluctuated over the past decade, but skyrocketed last year due to an increased demand in Asia. Last spring during McDermott’s recording, the eels were even being sold for as much as $2,600 a pound.

The high demand and short supply has made eels one of Maine's most valuable food commodities, second only to lobster.

Be sure to watch Cold River Cash on Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Animal Planet.

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Nick Skitko, communications and marketing intern
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Nick Skitko, communications and marketing intern.
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.

- See more at: http://www.gettysburg.edu/alumni2/explore/press-release-detail.dot?mainFrame=true&livePage=0&language=1&host_id=3f66400c-09dd-47bb-8de7-5bae953aeade&id=6f51c8c3-1705-4c1f-b5ae-8c903126f932#sthash.5S1J2mQs.dpuf

Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition that includes Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate and other distinguished scholars among its alumni. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Nick Skitko, communications and marketing intern.
Contact: Mike Baker, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6521.

- See more at: http://www.gettysburg.edu/alumni2/explore/press-release-detail.dot?mainFrame=true&livePage=0&language=1&host_id=3f66400c-09dd-47bb-8de7-5bae953aeade&id=6f51c8c3-1705-4c1f-b5ae-8c903126f932#sthash.5S1J2mQs.dpuf
Posted: Tue, 11 Feb 2014

Read more news