Tuna: A Love Story

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tuna is the most popular food fish in the world. It’s also a much more fascinating fish that you might ever have imagined! Did you know that they can swim at 55 mph? Richard Ellis talks about his new book, Tuna: A Love Story and explains how overfishing has seriously endangered tuna health.


Richard Ellis

Comments [11]

Hesch from Lower East Side - 39-year teacher in NYC

IMHO, "horse mackerel" may or may not be a 'translation' of ANYTHING in another language; the existence and edibility of such a food source for centuries before 'translation' could become an issue.

My understanding is that the mackerel family runs from the immense Horse variety[ies?] through the other tuna to the commonly marketed mackerel and through the various sardines down to the anchovies. IF 'aji' is in any way associated with one of the fish named tuna in modern times, I believe it is because it is the historical Japanese name for that fish - it is not a 'translation', it is the Japanese name for the creature.

And, personally, I have enjoyed all of them I have tasted, though not necessarily all the recipes along the way.

Sep. 29 2008 02:16 PM
Sheryl Eisenberg from New York

Listeners should be aware that contrary to what Mr. Ellis says, mercury in tuna does pose a health risk, especially to children and pregnant women. See NRDC's "Eating Tuna Safely" guide at or EWG's Tuna Calculator at to see how much canned tuna can be safely consumed at a given weight level.

For information on risks from tuna and other large, predatory fish to the general (non-pregnant) adult population, please see my This Green Life column, "What I Didn't Know about Mercury," at,

Note that blue fin tuna tends to contain even more mercury than that used in cans.

Sep. 29 2008 01:40 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Leonard you always have guests that minimize the level of toxicity in foods.
I just had Chelation for high levels of Mercury. The process is not over.

Sep. 29 2008 01:31 PM
Ash in Manhattan from Manhattan

My goodness. I can't recall the last time I have heard anyone so totally in command of the English language and so totally clear in all of his comments. He has been a joy to listen to (even though I have never given the topic he spoke on a single thought)!

Sep. 29 2008 01:27 PM
Richard E from long island/nyc

its my undeerstanding that NYC law requires all sushi to first be frozen, that is to be sure all parasites are dead

Sep. 29 2008 01:24 PM
Amanda Stinchecum from Brooklyn NY

Horse mackerel is the usual translation for "aji."

Sep. 29 2008 01:21 PM
Stuart from Bronx, NY

To answer your question, blue fin tuna is kosher. I and many other Orthodox Jews love it in sushi!

Very interesting show...

Sep. 29 2008 01:19 PM
Amanda Stinchecum from Brooklyn NY

I believe Mr. Ellis is badly misinformed about the history of sushi in Japan, which began during the Heian period, when sushi was the result of a technique for preserving fish. The idea that sushi is associated with refrigeration indicates a basic misunderstanding of the appreciation for sushi (and sashimi) in Japan, which is for raw fish prepared fresh from the sea (that is, immediately after being caught), where possible, cut up while the fish is still alive. I don't believe "horse mackerel" is the correct translation of any Japanese word for tuna, generally known as maguro.

Sep. 29 2008 01:17 PM
Michal from brooklyn

Please talk about Tuna around Asia becoming Very extinct, because its mating time is several years into life. They are fished early and before mating.

Sep. 29 2008 01:13 PM
Hesch from Lower East Side - 39-year teacher in NYC

Will you include the history of "tuna"?
I learned of it as one of the major marketing coups in history. The fishing industry was having difficulty with one of their [potentially] most profitable items because of its name: Horse Mackerel. This VERY large fish, up to a quarter TON of meat, couldn't be sold. NOTE: TON of fish => TONNA (in the Latinate languages) => Tuna in English.

Yummy. Enjoy. Peace - Hesch

Sep. 29 2008 01:08 PM
Steve from Baldwin, Long Island

I recommend a look at
The site identifies which species are OK to eat and which are threatened or laden with mercury.
Tuna, unless it's caught on a line, is listed as "to be avoided".

Sep. 29 2008 12:30 PM

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