Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna and the Future of our Oceans

By Karen Pinchin

This is a tale of human obsession, one intrepid tuna, the dedicated fisherman who caught and set her free, the promises and limits of ocean science and the big truth of how our insatiable appetite for bluefin transformed a cottage industry into a global dilemma.

In 2004, an enigmatic charter captain named Al Anderson caught and marked one Atlantic bluefin tuna off New England’s coast with a plastic fish tag. Fourteen years later that fish – dubbed Amelia for her ocean-spanning journeys – died in a Mediterranean fish trap, sparking Karen Pinchin’s riveting investigation into the marvels, struggles, and prehistoric legacy of this remarkable species.

Over his fishing career Al marked more than sixty thousand fish with plastic tags, an obsession that made him nearly as many enemies as it did friends. His quest landed him in the crossfire of an ongoing fight between a booming bluefin tuna industry and desperate conservation efforts, a conflict that is once again heating up as overfishing and climate change threaten the fish’s fate.

Kings of Their Own Ocean is an urgent investigation that combines science, business, crime, and environmental justice. As Pinchin writes, ‘as a global community, we are collectively only ever a few terrible choices away from wiping out any ocean species.’ Through her exclusive access and interdisciplinary, mesmerizing lens, readers will join her on boats and docks as she visits tuna hot spots and scientists from Portugal to Japan, New Jersey to Nova Scotia, and glimpse, as the author does, rays of dazzling hope for the future of our oceans.

Format: ebook
Release Date: 06 Jul 2023
Pages: None
ISBN: 978-0-00-846782-1
Karen Pinchin is an award-winning journalist specializing in investigative and longform reporting. She was most recently the 2019/2020 Tow Fellow at PBS FRONTLINE at WGBH, and is now based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For more than a decade she has worked as both a staff and freelance reporter and editor specializing in food systems and science journalism. In 2019, Karen graduated from Columbia’s Journalism School with a Master of Arts in science journalism, and won the school’s Lynton Fellowship for Book Writing.

”'Karen Pinchin has written a moving, vivid, often heart-pounding narrative of the love, greed and dramas surrounding the lives and deaths of a fish upon whom human fortunes rise and fall-each an individual animal who surely loves his or her life as much as we love ours. Kings of Their Own Ocean is a moving and ultimately hopeful story, reminding us that if we are honest and we are wise, we still may save the denizens of our imperiled seas.” - Sy Montgomery, New York Times bestselling author of The Soul of an Octopus

”'Pinchin has written pathos, poetry and adrenaline into a story about one of the most famed and endangered sea creatures on the planet: the bluefin tuna. Not easy to get the science right while making the reporting riveting. But she did … Well worth the read.” - Ian Urbina, nationally bestselling author of The Outlaw Ocean

”'Awash in lyricism and anchored in science and history, Kings of Their Own Ocean submerges readers in the enthralling lives of Al Anderson and Amelia to explore the depths of the Atlantic bluefin tuna industry. Eloquent and sobering, Pinchin uncovers the tenuous fate of the bluefin, and deftly explains why the choices we make about the ocean matter.” - Gloria Dickie, author of Eight Bears and a National Geographic Explorer

”'In Kings of Their Own Ocean, Karen Pinchin has brought vigor and pathos to the human relationship with the inhabitants of our oceans” - and what this complex relationship means for the future of the planet.’ Alicia Kennedy, author of No Meat Required

”'Strap in to your deck chairs and prepare to land the story of several lifetimes. In Kings of Their Own Ocean, a church launches a global seafood empire, researchers feud, the tuna leap, and most of all, fishermen and citizen scientists manage to save a vital species, armed only with their wits and a few plastic tags. Pinchin’s deep reporting and stunning prose ensure tuna will never taste the same.” - Lizzie Stark, author of Egg: A Dozen Ovatures