In 2004, a mysterious charter captain named Al Anderson tagged and released an Atlantic bluefin tuna in the waters of New England. This particular fish was later named Amelia and over the course of fourteen years, she embarked on incredible journeys across the ocean. Sadly, Amelia was eventually caught in a Mediterranean fish trap and her story inspired Karen Pinchin to delve into the fascinating history, struggles, and ancient legacy of this amazing species.
Throughout his fishing career, Al had an unwavering obsession with marking more than sixty thousand fish with plastic tags. However, this obsession caused him to make just as many enemies as it did friends. Al’s quest for marking fish put him in the midst of a continuous battle between a flourishing bluefin tuna industry and conservation efforts, a conflict that is gaining momentum once again due to overfishing and the impact of climate change on the fish’s survival.
“Kings of Their Own Ocean” is a pressing study that interweaves science, commerce, criminality, and ecological fairness. Pinchin emphasizes that as a global society, we are just a few catastrophic decisions away from exterminating any marine species. Using her unique access and interdisciplinary perspective, she takes readers on a journey to tuna hubs and laboratories from Portugal to Japan, New Jersey to Nova Scotia. Along the way, they’ll witness moments of inspiring optimism for the preservation of our oceans, as the author does, while exploring boats and docks.
Karen Pinchin is an award-winning journalist specializing in investigative and long-form 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.