Marc Towers and Neil Cooke came to the coast of Nova Scotia with a goal: catch a bluefin tuna. Clocking in at an average of 6.5 feet long and over 500 lbs, these torpedo shaped fish are respected for their size, strength and endurance, making them some of the toughest opponents even for skilled fishers. While Towers was prepared for bluefin, he could never have imagined the sheer size of the monstrosity on the end of his line when he hooked a 1,000 lb goliath of a bluefin tuna.
Two exhausting hours later, Mr. Towers managed to wear the beast down and drag it to the surface, where it proved to be simply too massive to haul aboard. The deckhand lassoed the fish, and the crew dragged it to shore where it was moved by crane to a forklift which transported it to the storage fridge where it awaits sale. Destination? Most likely Japan.
Japan is the sushi capital of the world, and the country has a voracious demand for bluefin, with estimates of 70-80% of legally caught bluefin tuna ending up in the Japanese market. This 1,000 pound beast could net in excess of $30,000 (not bad for a fishing trip!) and could be made into over 20,000 servings of delicious sushi. Maybe they can put the money towards a bigger boat!
While bluefin tuna is a delicacy, the enormous demand for the fish has caused populations to dip dangerously low. It is now one of the most regulated species, with quotas being reduced almost yearly to 12,900 tons in 2011, down from 32,000 in 2006. The fact is, however, that with any fish that can net in excess of $30,000 there is a real risk of illegal fishing which put the survival of the species in peril. For those who are worried about the sustainability of bluefin tuna, a better alternative that has a similar taste is the more prevalent albacore tuna.
I have always been fascinated by the creation and culture of different foods, particularly sushi and sashimi in the modern era of Japanese cuisine. I am a classically trained chef and sushi connoisseur, also having operated a food service company and enjoy investigating and experimenting with food around the world.