Washington native passionate about conservation
Published 10:01 am Sunday, April 11, 2010
By By KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER
Lifestyles & Features Editor
When Josh Eddings was growing up, he enjoyed hunting in the woods of Beaufort County and fishing the waters of the Pamlico River.
He developed a love of the outdoors and, over time, learned the importance of conserving eastern North Carolinas natural resources.
That affinity for wildlife grew into a passion that Eddings has used in the production of a documentary, Red Fish Cant Jump. The film will premiere Friday at 8 p.m. at the Turnage Theater in downtown Washington.
Eddings main partners in the project are Capt. Seth Vernon, an inshore fishing guide based in Wilmington, and fellow nature enthusiast and cameraman Luke Pearson of Goldsboro.
Eddings, who graduated from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington in 2008 with double degrees in Spanish and international business, became obsessed with fly fishing under Vernons tutelage. It just turned on a new world for me, Eddings said.
That obsession eventually led to the new documentary.
It basically started out with me saying, Lets all go out and fish. We did and we filmed it, said Eddings, 25, and a 2003 graduate of Washington High School. Luke edited the days footage and we made a You Tube video.
Responses to that video led the threesome to pursue funding and do a film that would mean something to somebody, Eddings said.
The project captured the attention of members of the Coastal Conservation Association of North Carolina. Eddings and company were awarded a grant to get the project off the ground.
They were our first main sponsor, and from that point we knew we had a conservation issue on our hands, Eddings said.
The documentary focuses on the plight of the red drum. Ironically, it is North Carolinas official state fish but its offered no protection from over harvesting. The fish have been granted game fish status that protects them from commercial harvesting in almost all of the Atlantic states, except North Carolina.
Work on the documentary began in 2006 and the project was three years in the making. The Turnage premiere marks the first time the completed film has been seen publicly.
We got a ton of footage of gill nets and things caught in the nets, Eddings said. The Pamlico Sound, the Pamlico River and any inland estuary is a primary nursery area, breeding area, for sea turtles, birds, ducks, even dolphins. Youll catch a lot of species you didnt mean to catch.
Eddings hopes the film, with the information and opinions it imparts, will stand on its own merits.
Dont take our word for it, he said. Listen to the experts and what they have to say about it.
And Red Fish Cant Jump isnt an attack on a way some local residents make their living, Eddings insisted.
Were not anti commercial fishing, he said. The thing we present most strongly is why North Carolina is so far behind everybody else in fisheries management plans. Almost every other state in our area bans the sale of red drum commercially. Its still more valuable as a game fish.
Its all about conservation, Eddings added.
Were pleading with everyone to do the best you can to preserve the resources we have in North Carolina, he said. Theres got to be a better way to do things than theyre being done now.
Sponsors for the project include Great Outdoors Provision Company of Greenville, Guy Harvey Jewelry, West Marine and Down on Mainstreet in Washington. Fridays premiere will also feature live music by Wilmington performer Jason Andre, who will sing several songs originally written for the film.
Admission for the premiere is $10 per person; dvd copies of the documentary will also be for sale. To purchase tickets, contact the Turnage box office at 252-975-1191 or www.turnagetheater.com.
*For more information about Red Fish Cant Jump, visit redfishcantjump.com.