Tuna are frenzy feeders. If you can get them eating then they will bite unbaited hooks. They used to chum up the water and the tuna would strike at a hook with nothing [attached]... It shouldn't be that hard to get tuna to eat. They are voracious eaters... Fooling fish into thinking something is food is the entire history of fishing. So we ought to be able to fool tuna into eating vitamin pills maybe shaped like fish.
Is the mercury in tuna reducing demand?
No. The fishing industry subverted [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] announcements of mercury in tuna by resisting its labeling on cans. If tuna was labeled dangerous, they felt the [product of the] whole fishing industry would become [perceived as] dangerous because people do not distinguish between one kind of tuna and another. The tuna with the most mercury is albacore and the [one with the] lowest [amount is] skipjack... Of course, the amount of mercury in tuna is not enough to kill you and the same fish [such as tuna and salmon] that are mercury-laden are the fish that provide omega-3 fatty acids. On balance, the omega-3 fatty acids may be better for you than the mercury is bad for you as long as you are not eating it every day.
What about dolphin-safe tuna?
Yellowfin tuna [spend] a lot of time swimming underneath spinner and spotted dolphins. So fishermen [would drop] a purse seine, a deep net, around the dolphins to catch the tuna... The tuna fishermen were killing all the dolphins, maybe two to three million dolphins a year.
Ultimately, the Americans regulated how many dolphins you were allowed to bring up in a tuna net ... and fishermen realized that it was too difficult to fish on dolphins because there were so many restrictions that they went west where the same species of yellowfin was not associating with dolphins. They went to the western Pacific and are having a fine old time without catching any dolphins and that's where most of the yellowfin are caught.
Is it too late for bluefin tuna in the wild? Can they recover?
It's too late [for wild bluefin] because, for one thing, I can't imagine anybody who is going to stop fishing for them. You could bring in a 900-pound tuna and sell it to the Japanese for $50,000... That is three times what you would earn in a year as a scallop [fisher] so you are going to drop a line whenever you see a tuna. The highest price ever paid for any fish was a fish sold in the market in Tokyo for $173,000 and that's before it got turned into sushi. By the time it got turned into sushi, that was a million–dollar fish.