- Tuna is the most popular food fish in the world. It is eaten raw, cooked, in sandwiches, in salads, and in catfood.
- The total worldwide tuna harvest is four million tons.
- In the past, tuna fishermen in the eastern tropical Pacific set their nets around dolphins, which resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of dolphins.
- There are many kinds of tuna, but the most popular for the Japanese sashimi market is the bluefin, one of the largest of all fishes.
- The largest bluefin tuna ever caught weighed 1,496 pounds.
- The most expensive bluefin tuna was a 440-pounder that sold at the Tsukiji fishmarket in Tokyo for $173,600.
- Almost all of the bluefin tuna caught by commercial fishermen goes to Japan.
- The Japanese import 800,000 tons of tuna every year. (Thats right: eight hundred thousand tons.)
- At the Tsukiji fishmarket in Tokyo, an estimated 1,000 bluefin tunas are auctioned off every day.
- Is there mercury in tuna? Yes. Is it at levels dangerous to humans? Not unless you eat tuna three meals a day.
- Many scientists consider the tuna the most highly-evolved fish in the world.
- Bluefin tunas, along with mako and great white sharks, are the only "warm-blooded" fishes; they can elevate their body temperature as much as 25 degrees above the water they swim in. This makes them particularly effective as predators.
- Bluefin tuna can swim 55 miles an hour. They can migrate across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, then turn around and do it again.
- MIT scientists built a robot tuna in an attempt to replicate the incredibly efficient swimming performance of the living fish. They failed.
- The bluefin tuna, and to a lesser extent, the yellowfin, are among the most sought-after of big-game fishes. Celebrated anglers like Zane Grey, Ernest Hemingway, and Phillip Wylie wrote ecstatically about their pursuit of giant tuna.
- Aquaculture ("fish farming") now accounts for 40% of the worlds fish consumption.
- Tuna ranching now takes place in every country on and in the Mediterranean, and in Australia and Mexico as well. It is scheduled to begin in Hawaii and Alaska.
- Because of commercial overfishing, almost exclusively to feed the insatiable Japanese sashimi market, all populations of bluefin tuna are endangered.
- Overfishing in the Mediterranean has caused such a drop in the bluefin tuna population that the World Wildlife Fund has called for a complete halt to all tuna-fishing there.
- If we cannot learn to breed bluefin tuna in captivity, the great fish will become extinct, writing finis to commercial and recreational tuna fishing--and to the consumption of maguro sashimi in Japan.
- In March, 2008, an Australian company called "Clean Seas" succeeded in getting captive bluefin tuna to spawn. If they can raise them to market size (200-300 pounds), it may relieve the pressure on wild-caught fish.
From Publishers Weekly
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