Hey! My name is Tina and I’m an Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. I spend most of my time in the waters off eastern Canada. Fisheries managers would classify me as part of the Western population of Atlantic bluefins.
So maybe you’re wondering why I’m not off chasing mackerel! The Canadian government is being 2-faced on how they want to manage fisheries for my species, by having us up for review for protection as an endangered species while at the same time asking to catch more bluefin tuna. For more information on this whole debacle, read about the issue here.
So, what’s so important about bluefin tuna anyway? A lot of people think of tuna as a little round tin can or a piece of red meat on top of a wad of rice but we are way cooler than that.
- Bluefin tuna are HUGE top predators.
We can grow to over 680 kg (1,500 lbs) and 3 meters (10 feet) in length. Like I said. Huge.
- We’re built for speed and lightning fast!
Well, not literally, but we can reach speeds upwards of 60km/h which is pretty darn fast – as fast as a racehorse! Our bodies are torpedo shaped, with fully retractable fins and eyes that are flush with our bodies to make us as sleek and hydrodynamic as possible. Naval engineers study us to perfect the design of submarines!
- Saying we’re “well-traveled” would be an understatement.
We often dive to great depths, sometimes more than 1200 meters (4000 ft) to prey on the elusive giant squid. And we travel across entire oceans, swimming all the way to Europe in less than a month!
- We can live to be 40 years old, but it takes us a long time to grow and mature.
It takes us about 10 years to mature, almost as long as you humans! Since we take our time growing up, catching and removing us from the ocean before we’ve had a chance to reproduce and carry on the species has a greater effect than with other fish who can reproduce early and often.
- We’re practically warm-blooded!
It’s not exactly the same thing as in mammals, but our blood vessels are designed in a way that conserves the heat generated by our muscles and actually allows us to maintain a body temperature much warmer than the water surrounding us. Most fish are cold-blooded, so this is pretty rare and it allows us to travel to colder waters where the food is much more delicious, like here in Canada.
- Bluefins are in trouble.
As a result of the increasing popularity of sushi, the invention of more efficient fishing gear and the huge amount of money that a large tuna can fetch at a fish market, my population has faced a huge decline, 64% since 1974 in fact. Despite fifteen years of management under a so-called rebuilding plan, my population is still severely depleted.
- We are incredibly valuable in the marketplace.
We’ve got a huge bounty on our heads! A single bluefin tuna is typically worth more than ten thousands in Canada. It is not uncommon for bluefin tuna to sell for over $40,000.
- Bluefin tuna are unique.
We are valuable in the ocean too as an irreplaceable and amazing species! We don’t want to imagine a world where majestic top predators like orcas, sharks and the mighty bluefin are gone from the world’s oceans!
Hopefully by now you’re convinced that my family and I are worth protecting! Now all we need to do is convince the Canadian government of the same. So what can you do? Join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter and become a Bluefinatic to show your support!