Guy Harvey Magazine

WIN 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 15 of 83

16 | I was diving in the frigid, green waters of Nova Scotia as I turned to face a giant bluefin tuna rising out of the abyss, gliding, silent and purposeful. Its eyes wide, mouth slightly agape, the dorsal fin suddenly raised, pelvic fins lowered and the gills flared, the fish inhaled a slowing sinking herring. It turned sharply as the afternoon sun caught its bronze flanks. The water around the fish was momentarily lit in a golden glow. Then another one rose up and another and then several came in a rush to suck down the drifting herring. The average size of these giant bluefins was 800 lbs. Giants… that's the correct terminology. These fish are up to 12 ft. long with a seven-foot girth. Several that swept by me were in the 1,200-pound range. My video camera captured it all as they swam past gobbling up the chum. Nova Scotia was not my first brush with giants. Back in 2002, I visited the Southern (and warmer) coast of Spain where I dived with captive tuna and witnessed the harvest of more than 300 bluefins that were destined for underwater traps. Tuna fishing in the Mediterranean is a 2,000 year-old ritual that began with the Phoenicians and then the Romans. Now, the captured fish are put in pens to grow so they can be sold for more profit. Swimming with and catching bluefin tuna creates a rush of adrenaline like nothing else. Yet, unfortunately, their flavor has pushed them into perilous territory. The Atlantic bluefin tuna population has seen dramatic declines since the 1970s due mostly to rampant overfishing. What you may not know is that these giants spawn in only two places—the western Mediterranean and the Gulf of Mexico. The issues in the Mediterranean are foreboding where so many nations share the shoreline and political chaos is the norm. However, there is good reason for optimism for the tuna in the gulf, and one strong reason is my friend, Jim Franks, a longtime and highly honored researcher with the University of Southern Mississippi. Tall, gray and unassuming, Jim has a quiet demeanor but his passion for tuna is unwavering. That's why, after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation partnered with Jim to study GUY TALK is an internationally-acclaimed artist, fisherman, scientist, and world traveler, who devotes much of his time and money toward ocean conservation. THE SCIENCE BEHIND BLUEFIN TUNA GUY HARVEY, PhD

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