What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “tuna”?

Is it bland, pinkish sandwich filling? Crimson slivers of velvety sashimi? Or perhaps a cartoon fish with a hat, glasses and a Brooklyn accent? If so, don’t worry — you are not alone. Decades of seafood marketing and cultural perception are at work here. But after years of being treated like the “chicken of the sea,” it’s about time tuna got the respect they deserve.

Athletes of the Sea

Let’s clarify one thing up front: Tuna are not ordinary fish. They are athletic freaks of nature, built for raw power, speed and endurance. They can withstand intense cold, dive to crushing depths and swim at speeds approaching 50 miles per hour. The largest species can grow to staggering dimensions: sometimes 10 feet or more in length. The world-record Atlantic bluefin tuna, reeled in off Nova Scotia in 1979, weighed 1,496 pounds and ranks high on the list of the biggest fish ever caught.

“They are the pinnacle of bony fish evolution — they’re the ‘super fish,'” said Barbara Block, a marine biologist at Stanford University, who is one of the world’s leading experts on bluefin tuna.

Block and her team have tagged and tracked more than 2,000 Atlantic and Pacific bluefin during her career. Their research has revealed much about the epic migrations undertaken by these extraordinary fish, such as the Pacific bluefin that swam from California to Japan and back — more than 10,000 miles — in the span of just five months in 2003.

Similar to lions and wolves, tuna are apex predators that travel long distances in search of prey, tend to hunt in groups (schools) and play a key role in regulating the ocean food web. While it may seem strange to compare the main ingredients in Fancy Feast withd such iconic land mammals, there’s more truth in the comparison than you might suspect.

This picture will give you an idea of how massive Tuna really are


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