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BLUEFIN is a tale of epic stakes set in 'the tuna capital of the world,' North Lake, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The film explores the baffling mystery of why the normally wary bluefin tuna no longer fear humans. Local fishermen swear tuna are so starving and abundant now that they will literally eat out of people's hands like pets. But something is not right. One thing is certain: this sudden and incredible abundance of tuna off their shores flies in the face of scientific assessments claiming endangered stocks are down by 90 percent.

This is a story about an extraordinary species caught between the addictive thrill of the hunt and our fear of their extinction. With stunning cinematography, director John Hopkins documents this mystery and brings the issues into sharp focus. At the heart of this documentary lies a passionate concern about giant mature bluefin, the key to replenishing the decimated stocks of the largest tuna species in the world.

'Bluefin brings into stark and stunning focus the sharply differing perspectives of those involved in the pursuit and protection of one of the greatest creatures in the sea. It is a story of people snared in their own denial, who learn personally, the hard way, the old lesson of the goose that lays the golden egg. Exceptionally beautiful imagery makes this the first film that shows a great fish as the wild animal that it is.' Carl Safina, Chair for Nature and Humanity, Founding President, The Safina Center, Stony Brook University, Author, Song for the Blue Ocean

'Bluefin shows the magnificence of this amazing fish. There is an unquestionable educational value in showing people the beauty and uniqueness of this species. It also gives us the chance to reflect on how close we went to the collapse of bluefin tuna population and, on the other side, the undisputable economic value that healthy bluefin populations can represent for coastal communities.' Alessandro Buzzi, Fisheries Project Manager, World Wildlife Federation Mediterranean

'An interesting film about an extraordinary fish and fishery...This film does an amazing job covering the conflicts among commercial fishing, sport fishing, and conservation. It has beautiful images and interesting interviews with people of varying interests without taking a side.' James Diana, Director, Sea Grant College Program, Professor, Fisheries and Aquaculture, University of Michigan

'This documentary will make you wonder out loud about the human condition.' Santa Barbara Independent

'The dramatic footage of bluefin tuna swimming freely in the sea will take your breath away and make you never want to order another slice of tuna sashimi again.'

'This is an important story about [the] greed and short-sightedness that are driving one of the ocean's most magnificent animals to extinction. But bluefin tuna have surprised us in Canada, offering us a chance to save this charismatic creature if we care enough.' David Suzuki, geneticist, broadcaster, environmental activist

'On its surface Bluefin is a documentary about wildlife conservation and the people whose livelihoods depend on fishing. But below the waves, it is also a story of what's lost in translation between scientists, traditional fishing communities, and international regulators; it's about the difficulty in a short-term world of making long-term commitments.' Billy Perrigo, The Panoptic

'A beautiful film about a wicked problem, this documentary presents different and sometimes conflicting perspectives on the plight of eastern Atlantic bluefin tuna, an amazing animal that is locally abundant when migrating around Prince Edward Island but heavily depleted in the rest of its range...The future of the fishery will depend on many factors, but this is a very interesting snapshot of what might be a pivotal point in the history of bluefin in the Atlantic.' Dr. D. G. Webster, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies, Dartmouth College, Author, Adaptive Governance: The Dynamics of Atlantic Tuna Management

'A well-made film. It was very good to get the diversity of perspectives, from scientists, to fishing families, to industry people. The film also sets up a tension due to the uncertainties - Why are the giant bluefins back? How long will they stay? Can sustainable economic activity be developed around them? - which will foster debate and discussion.' Karin Limburg, Professor of Environmental and Forest Biology, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

'Bluefin will ignite rigorous debate between stakeholders, scientists, and the general public regarding the status of the Atlantic bluefin tuna population, best practices for utilizing the resource and whether or not recent behaviors and distributions observed in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are unique in this portion of their habitat. The more you watch the more questions you will have and I encourage the viewer to carry their intrigue to research the life history of one of the planets most magnificent animals.' Dr. Walt Golet, Assistant Research Professor of Marine Sciences, The University of Maine/Gulf of Maine Research Institute

'Bluefin dares to dive deep into the complexities of our relationship with wild animals. This excellent documentary engages our emotions and challenges us intellectually. We are encouraged to watch, listen, learn and think, rather than simply to judge. This movie would make a great basis for a seminar, at any level from high school to grad school. I can also imagine it being used in 'town hall' style public debates. I will be using it in my Marine Affairs classes to encourage critical thinking on human-environment relationships.' Edward Allison, Professor of Marine and Environmental Affairs, University of Washington

'Harrowing, magnificent, uplifting, and ominous, all at the same time. Bluefin documents humanity's ability to rebuild our natural resources as well as our impulses to repeat past mistakes. This magnificently filmed and written documentary shows us the economic, ecological, and emotional pain we will have to endure to rebuild our overfished fish stocks.' Dr. Matthew McKenzie, Associate Professor of History, University of Connecticut, Author, Clearing the Coastline: The Nineteenth Century Ecological and Cultural Transformation of Cape Cod


Main credits

Hopkins, John (film director)
Hopkins, John (screenwriter)
Hopkins, John (cinematographer)
Clarke, Annette (film producer)
McNeill, Paul (film producer)
Fraser, Ken (on-screen participant)
Worm, Boris (on-screen participant)
Skerry, Brian (on-screen participant)
Jenkins, Garth (on-screen participant)
Okazaki, Akira (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Editor, Denis Takacs; director of photography, John Hopkins; music, Robert Marcel Lepage.

Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Animal Rights
Canadian Studies
Conservation Biology
Endangered Species
Environmental Ethics
Food And Nutrition
Local Economies
Marine Biology
Marine Ecology


North Lake, Canada, local fishermen, Atlantic bluefin tuna, species collapse, tuna capital of the world, Prince Edward Island, no fear of humans, abundant tuna, endangered species, sushi, climate change, Ken Fraser, Boris Worm, Brian Skerry, Garth Jenkins, Akira Okazaki, Wayne MacAlpine, Chris Davies, Jeff MacNeill, Ross Keus, Carl Safina, Jamie Bruce, Tim Simpson, Troy Bruce, Arnold Bailey, Walter Bruce, Brodie Creed; "Bluefin"; Bullfrog Films

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