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Bluefin cover photo

Bluefin 2018

Highly Recommended

Distributed by Bullfrog Films, PO Box 149, Oley, PA 19547; 800-543-FROG (3764)
Produced by Annette Clarke, Paul McNeill for The National Film Board of Canada
Directed by John Hopkins
DVD , color, 88 min.

High School - General Adult
Fisheries, Sustainability, Ecology

Date Entered: 11/02/2018

Reviewed by Cliff Glaviano, formerly with Bowling Green State University Libraries, Bowling Green, OH

A mature Atlantic Bluefin Tuna weighs about 550 pounds. These tuna support a large commercial and sport fishing industry in North Lake, Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, where tourists can also feed these huge fish by hand! The fish are abundant around North Lake, but the Bluefin is endangered globally due to overfishing. Bluefin are a prized species in the Japanese raw fish industry, and many PEI tuna are airlifted to Tokyo for auction sale at the Toyosu Market.

Though most commercial fisheries in eastern Canada have collapsed, the North Lake fisheries are thriving, but for how long? The PEI fishery has withstood extreme “sushi” pressure for 40 years, and some fear the tuna will soon disappear, much like the cod in Canadian waters. One commercial fisherman claims that, “there are more fish here in the last few years than in the past 30 years.” Others claim that large quotas on herring support overfishing of one of the large tunas’ main forage fish. Since only the large tuna spawn, it becomes a question of how a potential North Lake tuna collapse might impact the species worldwide.

In 2018 Fisheries and Oceans Canada simultaneously asked that Atlantic Bluefin tuna quotas be increased while asking that Bluefin be added to Canada’s Endangered Species List. Curious. Bluefin is highly recommended as a beautifully filmed and balanced treatment of potential overfishing and species conservation. There are tremendous economic and social advantages to maintaining healthy fisheries. Further, overfishing of forage species may eventually result in the collapse of predatory species. Why are all the large Atlantic Bluefin tuna crowded into such a small area of the Atlantic north of North Lake, PEI? Why have these huge predators apparently lost their fear of humans and now allow themselves to be fed by hand by scuba divers? Are the tuna that hungry, or is there some other reason that mature, potentially spawning Bluefin are congregating near North Lake?


  • Grand Winner: Best Feature Documentary, California Film Awards, 2017
  • Wildlife Award, San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival, 2017
  • Best Atlantic Filmmaker Award, Lunenburg DocFest, 2016