Atlantic bluefin tuna have been swimming in our oceans, and in the human imagination, for millions of years. Topping out at more than 1,500 pounds apiece, these apex predators face their greatest threat not from sharks or a dwindling food supply but from our unwillingness to stop overfishing them (to say nothing of the occasional catastrophic oil spill). But our understanding of how these majestic creatures navigate the ocean, defined by an imaginary line through the middle of the Atlantic, has been challenged by recent discoveries—and the life story of one tuna in particular. Karen Pinchin’s new book, Kings of Their Own Ocean, tells the story of that fish: an Atlantic bluefin named Amelia, tagged in 2004 by the fisherman Al Anderson off the coast of Rhode Island and recaptured twice more before her ultimate death in the Mediterranean. Pinchin joins the podcast to talk about what Amelia’s tale has to tell us about fishing and climate, science and commerce, and the future of the seas.
Go beyond the episode:
- Karen Pinchin’s Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas
- Let the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch do the work of choosing sustainable seafood for you (you can even download and print little pocket guides for each region—en español tambien!)
- In our Winter 2023 issue, Juli Berwald considered what coral might teach us about avoiding ecological catastrophe
- John Dos Passos loved fishing for tuna just as much as Papa Hemingway did
- Anna Badhken spoke to us in 2018 about how overfishing and warming waters have devastated a Senegalese fishing community
Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.
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