Richard Ellis

Author and marine conservationist Richard Ellis is in awe of the majestic bluefin tuna, and fears for the fish’s demise. Bluefin tuna are warm-blooded, super-speedy fish whose name comes from the Greek thuno, the word for rush. This species is perhaps better known as maguro, with the prized fatty belly meat known as toro (terms you’ll recognize from sushi menus). These sea creatures possess powerful tails that propel them up to 55 miles an hour, with eyes flush to their heads for ideal fluid dynamics and a side fin that can be tucked into a socket for increased speed. Bluefin can get as big as 1,400 pounds, and can travel thousands of miles at sea. But as we read in Tuna: A Love Story ($27.95, Knopf), worldwide demand (with a nexus in Japan) for the fish—from canned varieties to sashimi-grade toro—is endangering them. And thus your enjoyment of this (often) expensive delicacy needs to be reconsidered, as Ellis will explain. His book offers a detailed exploration of tuna’s appeal, and of what’s threatening the fish. Ellis covers tuna farming, mercury poisoning, and fishing quotas, as well as the beauty and power of this exceptional creature. Burke Museum, N.E. 45th St. and 17th Ave. N.E., 543-9681, $5. 7 p.m. (Also: Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 624-6600, Free. 2 p.m. Sat.) ADRIANA GRANT

Thu., Oct. 30, 2008

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