Little Fish Make Big Fish

An author’s death reminds us that a key step in protecting charismatic mega fauna is protecting what they eat

Paul Greenberg
4 min readJun 10, 2024

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Scientists measure and tag a bluefin tuna before release back into coastal US waters. © Paul Greenberg

The giants are returning to New York.

I’m not talking about those quasi-New Yorkers who don helmets and make their home out in East Rutherford, New Jersey. I’m talking about the real native giants: Atlantic bluefin tuna which over the last few years have been storming the waters of the New York Bight, sometimes finding their way onto the hooks of anglers fishing within sight of the Statue of Liberty.

The largest of the family Scombridae capable of reaching more than 1000 pounds and swimming at more than forty miles per hour, bluefin had been in steady decline in our waters for a large portion of the last fifty years. The decline is certainly due to direct over fishing of the species itself. Being a mixed stock with migrators coming from the tragically overfished Mediterranean as well as the oil-zonked Gulf of Mexico, these super-sized, bullet-shaped fish have had to dodge their share of bullets. Climate change too is changing migratory patterns and northern countries like the United Kingdom have also seen bursts of bluefin this year.

But having written about fisheries for the last twenty years and having observed the different things that…

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Paul Greenberg

New York Times bestselling author of Four Fish as well as The Climate Diet and Goodbye Phone, Hello World paulgreenberg.org