National Geographic : 2014 Mar
bluefin tuna 75 $10,000 and $20,000, depending on quality—is a startling measure of how much 21st-century Japanese have come to treasure maguro, bluefin sushi. It is a measure, too, of what the bluefin tuna is up against if more than a handful are to see the 22nd century. While Cameron steered toward deep wa- ter, Steve Wilson, a Stanford University researcher who works with the Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC) in Monterey, California, checked the satellite tags he hoped to implant that day. Robbie Schallert, of the bluefin conservation group Tag-a -Giant and folding one after another for decades, as have similar mazes, by different names, throughout the rest of the Mediterranean. Cameron, like any son of a Canadian fishing family, is familiar with the vogues and vicissi- tudes of his profession. “We didn’t fish tuna,” he says of his father’s generation. “ Tuna fishing was more of a sport. Years ago they used to call it ‘horse mackerel.’ It was cat food back then, or fertilizer.” In January 2013 a single bluefin tuna sold in Tokyo for $1.76 million. The outrageous price was part publicity stunt, part Japanese ritual: The first tuna on the auction market each year is subject to a bidding war that’s over the top, even by Japanese standards. Yet even the nor- mal price of one medium-size bluefin—between Kenneth Brower’s latest book is Hetch Hetchy: Undoing a Great American Mistake. Brian Skerry has spent more than 10,000 hours underwater.