Advocates Hope Science Can Save a Big Tuna  

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By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, December 24, 2007; Page A06

For centuries, humans have mythologized the bluefin tuna, an elite, warmblooded fish that can traverse the Atlantic basin in less than a month and a half and grow to weigh three-quarters of a ton. Romans put bluefin on their coins; Salvador Dali painted them.

Now, researchers are using hard science to prevent the fish from going extinct.

Analyzing facets including chemical markers in the tuna's ear bones and satellite readings generated by tags attached to migrating fish, marine biologists are beginning to decipher how separate bluefin populations travel and spawn. And those distinctions, they say, may help determine whether fishery managers can preserve the Atlantic's remaining giant tuna.

"We know phenomenally more about bluefin now than we did 15 years ago. We know enough to save this species," said Michael Sutton, vice president and director of the Center for the Future of the Oceans at Monterey Bay Aquarium in California. "We don't have the will."

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