The “Pfiesteria Files,” a one-hour documentary on toxic blooms in the Bay, won two major film prizes: an Emmy for best documentary from the Washington Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and a first place ECO award in the wildlife division of environmental films from the Outdoor Writers Association of America.
The documentary, co-produced by Maryland Sea Grant College and Maryland Public Television, examined the origins and end results of the “pfiesteria hysteria” that swept through the mid-Atlantic region in 1997 after the toxic microbe was blamed for sick or dead fish and human ailments along three Maryland rivers.
The documentary, in tracing the key players — watermen, farmers, scientists, Department of Natural Resources officials and journalists — examines why pfiesteria quickly became a controversial national issue that ignited political controversies, media wars, plummeting seafood sales and an expensive science race to identify toxic blooms in the Bay.
“Pfiesteria Files” has been broadcast as a “Maryland State of Mind” special. It was written by Michael W. Fincham of Maryland Sea Grant and was produced by Ken Day of Maryland Public Television.