Why I Don’t Eat Most Canned Tuna Anymore

Recently, legendary explorer and tireless ocean protector Dr. Sylvia Earle said something that caused me to rethink the kinds of seafood I put on my family’s dinner table.

Dr. Earle and her colleagues at Mission Blue fly with LightHawk to gain a big picture perspective of the ocean surface, to inform their work to protect the vibrant world beneath the waves. Dr. Earle’s passion for our blue planet, and its ocean wildlife, was palpable as she joined LightHawk’s annual Fly-In gathering.

Her remarks and recollections from 40 years of ocean exploration truly moved her audience of LightHawk volunteer pilots, partners and supporters gathered that evening on the coast of Maine. I was lucky enough to be in the front row and as I listened to her, I knew we needed to share her “Hawk Talk” with you.

Dr. Earle covered a lot during the hour she spoke, so, pour your favorite beverage, sit back and prepare to be inspired. Click here for Dr. Earle’s Hawk Talk address

**Don’t miss these memorable moments:

At minute 3:00 she describes seeing the earth from above for the first time.

At minute 7:15 she begins to share images, and describes meeting a 62-year-old “sister” bird.

At minute 17:45, she talks about the jaw-dropping discoveries being made 300 feet below the surface.

Beginning at minute 47:28, she talks about being on The Colbert Report, seafood marketing spin and “Appalachian Yard Trout”.

After you watch this, help the oceans by sharing it with your friends and family, and let us know what you are doing to make a difference for ocean wildlife.

Make sure you’re making a sustainable choice. Download the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch pocket guide for your phone or computer.


After spending a year and four days in the extreme cold and white of Antarctica, I came back to the world a changed person. My passion is to share stories of people doing extraordinary things and I've done that since 2008 as the chief storyteller for LightHawk. LightHawk is a unique non-profit that grants flights to conservation groups through a network of volunteer pilots. Nearly everyday LightHawk donates educational, scientific and photography flights covering the U.S., Mexico, Central America and parts of Canada. LightHawk volunteer pilots, aircraft and resources help to tip the balance toward sustainability for every major environmental issue within our targeted areas of focus. My favorite part of flying at 1,000 feet in a small aircraft is seeing how that perspective changes how people see their communities and empowers them to take positive action on behalf of conservation. Taking off is pretty cool too.
  • Good news for tuna-lovers: white albacore caught by troll or pole-and-line in the Pacific are listed as “Best Choice” by the Seafood Watch:

    Thanks to tuna fisherman Joe Malley (www.tunatuna.com) for representing the sustainable practices and thoughtful ways of some fisheries.

  • Christine

    Dear Lighthawk–Your final comment -your seeming take home message –after listening to Sylvia Earle’s lecture–asking people to start using the Seafood Watch Pocket Guide while they shop… is dismaying. After listening to Sylvia Earle– the message she brings from the Oceans will take more critical action to respond to the urgency of the time. As a first step– instead of even thinking ‘Seafood” we need to think ‘Marine life’ or ‘Ocean wildlife’-terms Sylvia has used on many occasions. And as she tries to elegantly convey -at this point there is no such thing as sustainable ”seafood” . There should be a moratorium on all trawling, on industrial fishing and even on recreational fishing. Let the ocean rest and replenish itself. But short of that for those of us that do ‘know’– we need at the very least to simply stop eating marine life. As Sylvia has said–They are much more precious swimming in the ocean than on our dinner plate in olive oil and lemon sauce. The time of nice and easy solutions — little lists that make us all feel better- while maintaining our comfortable consumer oriented lifestyles is over– the oceans are dying. I am sure you know all this—but please don’t send out tepid and nice messages to those that are just becoming aware. It only adds to complacency and does more harm than good.
    Let us all strive to save the oceans—and let a bit of sacrifice on our parts-—while we still have the choice– by giving up the luxury of eating marine life- be the first step. More of Sylvia on eating fish- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxgQdx7Zf88

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (dbraun@ngs.org)

Social Media