For the Love of Tuna

By April 17, 2008Sea Turtles

Last night I had dinner at the school cafeteria at Dominican College in San Rafael, CA,  with author Richard Ellis (Empty Ocean, many other books, new book is Tuna – a Love Story due out in July) whose lecture that evening was hosted by Pt. Reyes National Seashore. The meeting was interesting and inspiring because I also got to hobnob with Don Neubacher, Pt Reyes superintendent, and his staff Sarah Allen, marine mammal expert, Ben Becker, biologist, and Jessica the  new outreach coordinator.

Mr. Ellis previewed his upcoming book “Tuna – A Love Story,” due out in July from Alfred A. Knopf. Ellis is fascinating with his tales of the power and beauty of the big bluefin tuna. He also described the species’ decline from penning and “farming” around the world to provide sashimi primarily for Japan.

I was mesmerized by these magnificient predators when I saw them at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Interesting facts include:

  • Bluefin tuna and other tuna are warm blooded unlike other fish and can turn on and off this function
  • Tuna penning/farming in the Mediteranean, South Australia and other parts of the world is devastating the species
  • The Tokyo fish market has recently closed to outsiders to avoid criticism over Japan’s voracious consumption of disappearing fish
  • South Australians have for the first time ever bred wild bluefin in captivity.


Mr. Ellis has published numerous books and articles on the oceans and marine life, and is an accompllished painter. He also served on the International Whaling Commission, trying to stop commerical whaling around the globe. He generously signed my copy of “Empty Ocean.” His  next book is on polar bears!