Bluefin Tuna: Supa Dupa Fish

Washington, DC

April 12, 2012

Last night I attended the screening of National Geographic’s new film “Superfish: Bluefin Tuna.” Wow. As Missy Elliot might say, these fish are “supa dupa fly.”

I have read about bluefin and their plight, discussed their fate with scientists and conservationists, and discouraged and friends, family, and acquaintances from eating them. However, I had not ever really seen them, not in their full power and majesty. For a lover of nature and oceans, I watch very few documentaries on those topics – part of a larger trend (that I aim to reverse in 2012) of watching shockingly few films on any topic – but I am glad I made time to see this one. Check out this trailer and additional footage here.

Bluefin tuna are incredible. They can be over 10 feet long and over 1,500 pounds, swim at up to 50 miles an hour, and are warm blooded unlike most other fish. This column by photographer Brian Skerry describes his experiences being in the water with these creatures.

Photo credit: National Geographic Channel blog.

Amazing fact: “when [a bluefin’s] muscles fire up it can actually cook its own flesh.”

It took years to collect the footage for this film, in large part because overfishing has rendered Atlantic Bluefin rare, elusive. But filmmaker Rick Rosenthal found them, and the footage of these giants zooming past him, while he is bravely alone in the water with only a snorkel and a camera, is stunning. Check out this interview with him by Lee Crockett of Pew Environment Group, and see the film if you can – especially if you enjoy the abstract, dynamic beauty of bait balls as much as I do.

Warning/wish: This could inspire more reverence than appetite.