Giant bluefin tuna are in trouble, primarily because the powerful muscles that propel their extensive ocean migrations come with an Achilles' heel: They're tasty.
Prized by sushi lovers for their savory succulence and by fishermen for the incomparable price they command-one 607-pound fish fetched over $90 per pound at a January auction in Tokyo-all three species of bluefins have seen their population plummet in the past 50 years thanks to worldwide demand.
However, there is hope for bluefin, as new advances fueled by modern technologies in ocean science may be clarifying how best to manage Atlantic bluefin, according to Barbara Block, the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Professor in Marine Sciences at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station. Block is scheduled to discuss her work during a press briefing scheduled for 8 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Boston. She also will discuss her work during a seminar at 9:15 a.m. Monday, Feb. 18.
Block has spent more than a decade tagging Atlantic bluefin tunas and tracking their travels. She and her team from Hopkins Marine Station and the Monterey Bay Aquarium have spent years at sea on a project called "Tag A Giant (TAG)," implanting 995 electronic tags in bluefin tunas. That is no small accomplishment, considering that giant bluefin can grow to 1,500 pounds, live in offshore waters and must be hauled onto boats to be measured, implanted with sophisticated electronic tags or have fin clips for DNA analysis removed.
Block and her students have uncovered remarkable details about the journeys of these
giant fish, which can swim thousands of miles in a year and dive almost a mile below the
surface. What she has learned is guiding decisions made by international managers and may
lay the foundation for taking actions needed to bring the Gulf of Mexico bluefin
|Contact: Louis Bergeron|