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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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City & State or ZIP Tonight, this weekend, May 5th...
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Local author Virginia Willis blasts Nat Geo for new reality series

cdf9eb07a5255b5bfd0beb7b18387bd0Atlanta chef and cookbook author Virginia Willis took to her blog this week to voice her opposition to National Geographic’s new reality series, “Wicked Tuna”. The show, produced by the same team behind “Dirty Jobs”, follows the lives of tuna fisherman in Massachusetts.

At the heart of Willis’ anger at the new show, aside from her personal passion for sustainable seafood, is the fundamental discord between the usually environmentally conscious National Geographic and their previous statements against the overfishing of Bluefin tuna, and this show airing on the National Geographic Channel, which is a joint venture between the National Geographic Society and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. She calls this a “veritable pact with the devil.”

It seems that her post stirred up some emotional responses on both sides of the argument. The comment section of her blog got pretty heated, with many passionate responses from what seems to be fisherman or families of fisherman.

You can find her complete post here.

What are your thoughts? Has National Geographic undermined their own principles for ratings, or are the concerns about Bluefin overfishing blown out of proportion?

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

29 comments Add your comment

Atlantan

January 25th, 2012
10:22 am

She lost me on calling Murdoch the devil – the lady is apparently a moon bat who can’t think for herself….. Maybe a great chef, but not an intelligent thinker.

Nice weather we're having!

January 25th, 2012
10:38 am

I don’t know anything about the population of the BlueFin Tuna. I don’t know anything about the Fishing Regulations concerning them. I don’t have a problem with harvesting fish for human consumption as long as it’s sustainable. I feel that it would be National Geographic’s duty to know how the fishing industry is affecting our waters and wildlife. However, achieving this goal should not be done under the guise of a reality television show. A documentary would be more appropriate. In my opinion, it’s the same with the History Channel – filled with reality shows that have nothing to do with history… only drama.

Ronnie

January 25th, 2012
11:00 am

She is a chef and cookbook author, who isnt this days, but why is her extreme opinion any more important than anyone else moaning about the govt or taxes or some issue they want to preach about from their soapbox. These people working in this fishing industry have families to feed, bills to pay and apparently, there is a desire for these tuna or the industry would have gone belly up! So preach to those eating and cooking the bluefin tuna, not the fisherman who is doing his job to satisfy the market and supporting his family along the way! These faux celebs always have some extreme cause and want to preach on how their cause should be protected and regulated and anyone not agreeing is a devil…that is until you start messing with their meal ticket – their books or cooking shows or restaurants, then it is a different story! I wish the AJC and the news media would go back to reporting REAL unbiased NEWS, hard hitting NEWS – things that really matter and not this crap!

Mr Ed

January 25th, 2012
11:07 am

Sorry, Ronnie. I don’t read this column for “hard hitting news”. You probably should have read the headline and moved on…

PMC

January 25th, 2012
11:51 am

It makes no sense to overfish because you’re killing your own profession and you’re diluting your own marketplace.

PMC

January 25th, 2012
11:53 am

My guess is that Ms Willis has more of a problem with Nat Geo’s relationship with Rupert Murdoch than the show itself, which would only serve to increase knowledge of the fishing industry.

george

January 25th, 2012
12:02 pm

jon-i assume you want readers to comment about whether national geographic is abandoning its PRINCIPLES in a quest for ratings? john kessler is the PRINCIPAL food writer and editor of the ajc. the wicken tuna series is a reality (more or less) show based on actual experiences of individuals working in a an evolving, but legal industry. it is hardly a glorification of elephant and ivory poachers or blood diamonds child laborers.

John Kessler

January 25th, 2012
2:26 pm

Thanks, George. Its fixed. (And of course you know I’m kidding with that omitted apostrophe.)

Bate de mierda loco

January 25th, 2012
4:39 pm

Do you guys know how to post videos to FACEBOOK?

GadgetGeek

January 25th, 2012
4:43 pm

You go Virginia, they were wrong.

MarkP

January 25th, 2012
5:14 pm

I agree withMs. Willis, the Nat Geo television channel as well as their Nat Geo Kids magazine are completely disjointed in values from the traditional National Geographic Society magazine. Both are highly sensationalized, frenetic advertising machines with no objectivity or evident critical thinking. It’s embarassing that these other products are carried under the same brand name.

Dave Marciano

January 25th, 2012
5:20 pm

Virginia. Profiting off of preaching hate towards working families of Amercica

Truly despicable and truly evil !!!!

Fred

January 25th, 2012
6:13 pm

Atlantan

January 25th, 2012
10:22 am

She lost me on calling Murdoch the devil – the lady is apparently a moon bat who can’t think for herself….. Maybe a great chef, but not an intelligent thinker.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Really? You mean the man who had his employees hack the cell phones of murder/kidnap victims and then delete messages when they were full so they could get more “juicy” info ISN’T the devil?

Oh wait, he’s rich so he’s your God. you must obey him and worship at his money alter. I get it.

Dick.

Outlawgod

January 25th, 2012
6:14 pm

CONservitives, Teatraitors, and Faux News are the devil

Edward

January 25th, 2012
6:20 pm

Yeah, Murdoch is such a sweet and likeable fellow . Who are the fishermen going to blame when there isn’t anything left to catch? The cod fishermen nearly wiped out the entire Atlantic population of cod. Many fishermen were left to seek other jobs because there was nothing left to catch. Some people would like to prevent that catastrophe from happening again with other species. Is that so wrong? You know, those damn newfangled automobiles put a lot of blacksmiths and buggy builders out of work who were just trying to feed their families. Was that despicable and evil? The lopsided rhetoric gets very thick around here.

Atlantan

January 25th, 2012
7:07 pm

@fred @ outlawgod clearly you guys are on the same low intelligence spectrum as Virginia….. This isn’t Japanese whale hunters, it is legal fishing in the US, but why let truth get in he way of a good mindless bashing.

Ronnie Raygun

January 25th, 2012
8:20 pm

@Atlantan: Yeah, and you’re a genius……in your own mind.
Since you’re such a Rupert sycophant, what did he have for lunch today? I figured you’d be the best person to ask since your head is so far up his backside.

David Beall

January 25th, 2012
8:54 pm

“Sustainable” is environmentalist wacko code for “not economically viable, but we’ll try to get regulations passed that forces people to do it anyway.”

Atlantan

January 26th, 2012
12:44 am

@ronnie blue fin tuna salad sandwich. Thanks for asking.

Edward

January 26th, 2012
1:40 am

So again, to people like Atlantan and David Beall, what’s going to happen when there are no more bluefin? It is not an infinite supply, you know. North Atlantic cod was nearly driven to extinction and it took very drastic measures to prevent the total extinction of that species. So, you advocate that everything is fair game as long as somebody makes a profit? It all comes down to money, with no regard whatsoever to the environment or entire species? When the tuna are gone, who will you blame, then? Who will you mock and belittle?

Marsh

January 26th, 2012
7:56 am

Edward, don’t waste your breath. Atlantan actually used the term “moon bat.” You see, if you disagree with Atlantan (whose name is so VERY apt), you can’t think for yourself. Atlantan does all the thinking around here, you see. Either you agree, or you’re stupid. What Atlantan fails to realize is that he and his smart friends are the reason this country is going in the toilet. When you can’t see or hear reason, and allow the talking box to tell you what to think, Atlantan, you are allowing a stupid argument with your “enemy” to prevent any real exchange of ideas. Meanwhile? Those corporations you worship waltz away with your freedoms and the politicians? They don’t care about you, either. Before you accuse others of not thinking for themselves, look in the mirror, friend.

And yes, if you kill all the fish and don’t allow them to reproduce, nobody wins. Use your noodles, people.

Lynn

January 26th, 2012
10:24 am

Virginia is right. There is a worldwide overfishing problem in regard to bluefin tuna. The problem with her blog, however, is that the U.S. does not contribute to the problem. We have fisheries managment in place that prohibits overfishing of bluefin tuna and American commercial fishermen are honoring the regulations. A blog like this does irreparable damage to our commercial fisherman. Fishing is not a hobby to them, it is way of life passed down through generations. They are having a very difficult time catching fish and turning enough profit to stay in the business. Fishermen need our help and respect so save a truly endangered species . . . American Commercial Fishermen!

Atlantan

January 26th, 2012
12:42 pm

@Marsh thanks for proving my point. Why don’t just agree to not eat any fish. It is a stupid show, about Legally (you know what that means?) fishing for blue fin tuna. It isn’t big nets, Japanese whalers or tea baggers noodling. I’m all for responsible fishing, but I’m humored by typical reaction of people of you ilk.

Chris

January 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

Virginia is clueless and needs to stop believing all the propaganda she reads. Bluefin are not endangered, and no actual national or real scientific management body has ever declared them such. In fact the US just recently declared they were not endangered. There are millions of fish out there and people like Virginia are only doing harm to US fishermen with nonsense stories like this. Maybe if Virginia got out of the kitchen and onto the ocean she would know a little more about what’s out there instead of regurgitating what she read on some action alert from an environmental group. She would not know what a bluefin looked like if it sat down next to her! And yet you are letting her preach about how many are out in the ocean!?

Do websites like this even fact check? Do they care about being objective? Or is biased BS the norm here?

Chris

January 26th, 2012
3:07 pm

And BRAVO to NatGeo for not caving in to pressure like this!

Bob Jones

January 26th, 2012
9:54 pm

Why do anti-fishing activists and vegans always slam US fishermen who comply with every regulation the government enacts on bluefin tuna. The US bluefin tuna fishery is well managed just like all the US fisheries because we have a federal law. Most bad fishing practices happen in nations without adequate oversight, but the anti-fishing activists lump what is happening in Somalia with whats happen off the Georgia coast. Unreal misinformation sells and fish harvesters are easy targets to beat up the same as government workers or any class of workers providing food or services to the nation. Why would US fishermen overfishing knowing they need to work next year and the following year and the following decade. The author must not be well informed on the International management of bluefin tuna and how our bluefin stock is well managed. Hateful messages by respected writers do much more harm than good..

rod

January 27th, 2012
6:48 am

Virginia, it is the evil middle class and up that have (or had) the money to pay for your stupid over priced meals. do you think a fish farm is going to ber able to supply all the fish ordered and served around the world. I get sick of folks like you and their rants. And by the way who the hell is she anyway?

Baltisraul

January 29th, 2012
1:18 pm

Ronnie………if you want “hard hitting news” go to c-span. This is a food blog. People come here for enjoyment. You must be a crusty old dude? Bet you stay mad all day long!

Edward

January 29th, 2012
8:26 pm

Some people are just mad. They don’t know exactly at what, but they’re mad. So, they go online and hit some forum and lash out at whomever happens to be convenient. Hey, it’s “anonymous”, so why not, right? Tedious.