Science Diary Healthy Ocean – What’s in a Can of Tuna?

Science Diary: Healthy Ocean – What’s in a Can of Tuna?

JM: The cost of a can of tuna can be measured in dollars and also in its toll on dolphins. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries, a glimpse at the world of science from the inside. Carl Safina is founder and president of the Blue Ocean Institute, an organization that works to restore and maintain the health of the world’s oceans. We join him off the coast of Guatemala.

CS: “I’m on board the US research ship David Star Jordan. It’s operated by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association. Yesterday we left the Pacific side of Guatemala, headed west. We’re headed toward a place called the Eastern Tropical Pacific. It’s the heart of the tuna fishing for the canneries that go to make cans of tuna fish that people use for sandwiches. So, although the place seems very remote, certainly, anybody who has ever had a tuna fish sandwich has had something to do with the biology and the politics of this area. The main reason for the cruise is that the scientists onboard and the federal government are trying to determine the size of dolphin populations in this part of the ocean. For about 30 years most of the tuna fishing was done by setting nets around dolphins because schools of tuna would follow dolphins around in the ocean, probably because dolphins help make food available to the tuna. Hundreds of thousands of dolphins died from the late 1950s to the mid 1980s, and their populations were depleted. But the mystery is that after 20 years or so of “dolphin-safe fishing,” the dolphin populations have not recovered. So, one of the main reasons we’re here is to try to count the dolphins and try to determine why it is that the dolphin populations have not recovered in all that time.”

JM: You can check out Carl Safina’s blog on pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet’s Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.

Science Diary Healthy Ocean - What's in a Can of Tuna?

What's the biological impact of eating a tuna fish sandwich?
Air Date:05/31/2013
Scientist:
Transcript:

Science Diary: Healthy Ocean - What's in a Can of Tuna?

JM: The cost of a can of tuna can be measured in dollars and also in its toll on dolphins. Welcome to Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries, a glimpse at the world of science from the inside. Carl Safina is founder and president of the Blue Ocean Institute, an organization that works to restore and maintain the health of the world's oceans. We join him off the coast of Guatemala.

CS: "I'm on board the US research ship David Star Jordan. It's operated by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association. Yesterday we left the Pacific side of Guatemala, headed west. We're headed toward a place called the Eastern Tropical Pacific. It's the heart of the tuna fishing for the canneries that go to make cans of tuna fish that people use for sandwiches. So, although the place seems very remote, certainly, anybody who has ever had a tuna fish sandwich has had something to do with the biology and the politics of this area. The main reason for the cruise is that the scientists onboard and the federal government are trying to determine the size of dolphin populations in this part of the ocean. For about 30 years most of the tuna fishing was done by setting nets around dolphins because schools of tuna would follow dolphins around in the ocean, probably because dolphins help make food available to the tuna. Hundreds of thousands of dolphins died from the late 1950s to the mid 1980s, and their populations were depleted. But the mystery is that after 20 years or so of "dolphin-safe fishing," the dolphin populations have not recovered. So, one of the main reasons we're here is to try to count the dolphins and try to determine why it is that the dolphin populations have not recovered in all that time."

JM: You can check out Carl Safina's blog on pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet's Science Diaries are made possible by the National Science Foundation.