They’re incredible animals, magnificent, specialized predators. Yet most of what we know about them is how to kill them. We value them almost entirely only after we’ve turned them into meat. We miss almost all of what there is to appreciate about them as animals. Even in such intimate contact—as fish we catch, and as food we take into our bodies—we understand almost nothing about them.
The swordfish themselves probably understand their own food better than we understand ours. Their stomachs were full of squid and silver hake. People also eat squid, (our calamari treats) and silver hake, which get sold as “whiting.” So how much squid and hake can we catch? Well, if swordfish are going to continue to eat, and if we’re going to continue to have swordfish to eat, the question is not, “How much squid and hake can we catch?” The question is: how much must we leave—not just for swordfish, but also for dolphins, for sharks, whales, and ourselves. Because ironically, only by leaving enough can we maintain any hope of continuing to have it all.