Friday, July 18, 2008

Richard Ellis

Scientific American's David Biello spoke with Richard Ellis, author of Tuna: A Love Story, about the problems facing the chicken of the sea.

A couple of their exchanges:

What is happening to the tuna generally?

The biggest and most spectacular [tuna] is the bluefin, and it is also the one that is most in trouble. But there are many smaller species that are hunted very strenuously, [such as yellowfin, which are] in many cases overfished and in many cases they're not. Tuna in a can, for example, labeled white meat tuna, it's from a fish called an albacore. It's the only tuna that can be labeled white meat tuna and it's not in trouble. Light meat tuna is skipjack: it's the most popular food fish in the world, just think of the cans of tuna in the world. And it's also not in trouble... But the ne plus ultra of tuna is the bluefin and it's in trouble because it is probably the favorite food of the Japanese.

What is so special about the bluefin tuna?

The bluefin tuna is one of the fastest, largest, smartest, most highly evolved fish on Earth, and it undertakes epic migrations... Admire it as I do, after all my book is called Tuna: A Love Story, I still eat it. And other people love it, not because it's fast or beautiful or intelligent, but rather because they like to see it on a plate...
Read the entire Q & A.

The Page 99 Test: Tuna: A Love Story.

--Marshal Zeringue