small tuna on scooter

What’s wrong with this picture? (Teenage Tuna!)

posted by Sarah Curry on 09 January 2013

Nothing, you might say. It’s fish. On a moped? A bit bizarre, but okay. But, these happen to be tuna that are much, much, too small to be caught. Although they may be teenagers, they probably have not had the chance to reproduce yet. And when it comes to tuna, we need those guys out there having as many babies as possible. As you can read about here and here, there are many types of tuna, and some are doing better than others.


But just ask anyone, what say, their favorite fish is and I’m betting a lot of people will say tuna. Until shrimp consumption exploded in the states a decade or so ago, (find out about that in our next documentary!) tuna was the most popular seafood in the US. And it’s still eaten by thousands for lunch, mixed into a yummy, salty concoction, and stuck between two slices of bread.


“Tuna don’t start spawning until the age of three, and then they will spawn for about a decade,” Ted Caplow explains in the film. “So if we take them when they’re too young, before they’ve even had a chance to reproduce once, then we’re making it very difficult for the natural population to survive.”


This image was taken from the Academic (and longer) version of our documentary Fish Meat. In the scene, Andy Danylchuk and Ted Caplow, happen upon a fisherman, who’s just arrived in from a night on the water. Andy, the fish ecologist, is clearly distressed due to the size of the fish. And Ted, the engineer, is worried about all the energy that was used for to catch a dozen of these small fish. Is it really worth it?


The Pew Charitable Trust is a big player when it comes to tuna conservation, although most enviros/NGOs/celebrities  have something to say on the topic as well.  Many around the world have their eyes set on this extremely valuable finned friend and this past weekend a 489-pound bluefin tuna sold for $1.76 million dollars in a Tokyo auction. Oi! But, as I mentioned before, not all tuna are created equal. Read our blog about which can o’ tuna is best to grab the next time you’re at the store.

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