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Oceana Magazine: Fall 2008

Plight of the Bluefin

One of the world’s most coveted and threatened seafood species

When Oceana photographer and MarViva Med diver Keith Ellenbogen first dove with bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, he felt reverberations in his chest when the powerful fish darted by. Despite their strength, however, the fish were juvenile-sized, smaller than Ellenbogen himself.

Ellenbogen was documenting bluefin tuna in vast fattening cages, the last stop before heading to market. These fish would never get the chance to reach maturity, roaming the Atlantic and eventually returning to the Mediterranean to spawn. Instead, like three-quarters of all bluefin caught in the Mediterranean, the fish were most likely headed for Japan. Once there, they can sell for $80 a pound or more.