To be filed under the category of “where does it come from” is Richard Ellis’s Tuna: A Love Story. There are all kinds of fish facts to amuse your dinner company, including:
* What you’re eating out of the can scientifically isn’t tune per se, but a member of the family called skipjack.
* The largest fish market in the world is in Tsukiji, Japan. Every day, this icebox is loaded with catch from around the world and millions of dollars are exchanged. One fish brought $173,600 US in 2001.
* The purse seining method of tuna fishing leads to the deaths of thousands of dolphins per year. If a can is labeled “tuna safe”, it merely means a good faith effort is made to rescue as many as possible, and these regulations are far from a global standard.
* A highly-prized bluefin tuna (a rich dark red meat unlike our Starkist, Bumblebee, and Chicken of the Sea) can fetch upwards of $400 a pound. The sushi restauranteur marks up from there.
* Around one in 40 million tuna eggs will make it to adulthood. Once they do, however, few species can compete physically with a quarter-ton fish that can swim in excess of 50 mph.
* The insatiable appetite and unlimited finances of the Japanese for this delicacy may very likely result in the species’ extinction in the future.