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The Truth About Tuna: Sailing to the Front Line of Pacific Tuna Fisheries

The Truth About Tuna: Sailing to the Front Line of Pacific Tuna Fisheries


There was this unambiguous rule growing up in our house, which was that we had to eat whatever food was put in front of us. If I had a nickel for every time I heard “This isn’t a restaurant, Lauren,” I could have retired well before becoming a productive member of society. Growing up in the farmlands of Pennsylvania, summer lunches were filled with tuna fish sandwiches on wheat bread, a handful of potato chips, and a glass of milk. There was an unspoken acknowledgement that as soon as we finished, outside we would go, and no — Mom is not taking recommendations for dinner, fried chicken is not being served, and just make sure we’re back before 6 p.m.

The beauty of being modern-day consumers is that our breadth of choice has exploded over the last few years — it far exceeds its non-existence during my childhood. In truth, I’ve spent much of my adult life thinking about food; the way it’s cooked, the way it’s grown, the way it can hurt or heal. As Wendell Berry once said, “To be interested in food and not food production is clearly absurd.” While I often find myself in Berry’s camp, I must admit my knowledge of the seafood industry is sorely lacking; I literally know nothing about where the tuna in my childhood sandwiches came from.

With recent stories of overfishing, shark finning, and human rights abuses (one New York Times reporter stated that being a fisherman in some parts of the Pacific Ocean “was a job where more than 50 percent of workers report their boss killing a co-worker”), I can’t help but feel extremely moved and heartbroken if these are true. The best way for me to comprehend how our canned tuna actually gets from sea to plate is to head to the source itself.

So over the next few weeks, I’m just crazy enough to hitch a ride on the Rainbow Warrior, Greenpeace’s ship currently touring tuna fisheries in the Pacific Ocean. I’ll be sailing out to sea from a country I’ve never been to, with a crew I’ve never met, on a boat I’ve never imagined boarding. I have no clue what to expect — in many ways, it’s a true voyage into the unknown. I’ll have regular updates, photos, and video of my encounters at sea — I happily welcome any and all questions you have along the way, so tweet @Lo_Pickles and I’ll do my best to get those answers for ya.

And don’t forget to follow me here on The Daily Meal to find out where our tuna really comes from.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.


If you look at the statistics related to the decline of marine species within the last 40 years, it becomes abundantly clear that our oceans are in serious trouble: Around 50 percent of marine life has disappeared, 80 percent of global fish stocks are fully-to-over exploited, possibly most shocking of all, 90 percent of large predatory fish have also vanished.

Now, you might be thinking that this is, in fact, startling, but what does this have to do with you – and/or – what can you do about it? Well, it turns out, this has everything to with us as the cause of this incredible drop in marine species can largely be accredited to our insatiable appetite for fish.

While our overall consumption habits have taken a toll on the oceans, the relationship between our love for spicy tuna rolls and the decline of the sharks species is especially troubling. Although sharks are typically thought of as the top predator of the oceans, they are no match for longlines and illegal fishing operations.