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What’s Eating the Bluefin? Nothing—It’s at the Top of the Food Chain

Just kidding. We’re eating it as sushi, and unless we cut back, we’ll drive this majestic fish to extinction

2 min read
opening illustration for "Numbers Don't Lie" column
Photo-illustration: Stuart Bradford

Consider the tuna: Its near-perfect hydrodynamics and efficient propulsion, powered by warm-blooded muscles deep within the body, make it an outstanding swimmer. The largest ones top 70 kilometers per hour, or around 40 knots—fast for a powerboat, and far faster than any known submarine.

But their size and tasty meatiness have put the most majestic of these fish on the road to extinction. The white meat you get in cans comes from the relatively abundant albacore, a small fish, typically less than 40 kilograms (red canned meat comes from the abundant skipjack, another small tuna). In contrast, bluefin (in Japanese, maguro or hon maguro, true tuna) has always been the rarest tuna. Adults can grow to more than 3 meters and weigh more than 600 kg.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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