Last year, millions of viewers tuned in for a new series the critics called "wicked authentic." Now, the salty stars of National Geographic Channel's (NGC) breakout hit Wicked Tuna are back as the show returns for its second season, beginning tonight, January 13, 2013, at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT. For more information, visit www.natgeotv.com/wickedtuna and follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/NGC_PR.
Wicked Tuna follows a group of spiritEd Fishermen from Gloucester, Mass., as they make their living the way it's been done for centuries - man versus fish, rod versus fin, one catch at a time. The stakes are unforgiving, but the paydays can be huge, as the fleet navigates the frigid waters of the North Atlantic, searching for the magnificent and elusive bluefin tuna. One "monstah" catch can bring in as much as $20,000, but with a short fishing season and dwindling tuna populations,Gloucester's fishermen are fighting for their economic survival every time they set sail.
With just 14 weeks to earn a year's salary, the stakes are high. "If I don't catch a fish, I don't have money to provide for my family," explains Captain Dave Marciano of the Hard Merchandise. "Money doesn't just fall from the sky - it comes out of the sea."
"Tuna fishing is a tough business, and you have to remain competitive," says Dave Carraro , captain of the FV-Tuna.com, who led the fleet in catches and revenue last season. "My colleagues at sea don't always agree with my methods, but I'll do whatever it takes to stay on top."
This season, 24-year-old Captain Tyler McLaughlin and the Pin Wheel join the action. Hailing from Rye, N.H., the crew of young hotshots are often at odds with the veteran Gloucester fleet - the FV-Tuna.com, Hard Merchandise, Christina,Odysea and Bounty Hunter - as the Pin Wheel seeks to capture the most fish and the biggest payload of the season. Each catch the Pin Wheel makes is a paycheck out of the other captains' pockets, and the rivalry between the boats intensifies dramatically as each captain pursues his quest for "blue gold." Captain Tyler's brash Nature and arrogance create unprecedented drama between the Pin Wheel and last season's leader FV-Tuna.com, as Captain Dave Carraroresolves to crush his new competition.
"I caught my first bluefin tuna when I was 7 years old," says McLaughlin. "I may not be from Gloucester, but that doesn't mean I can't show these guys a thing or two about catching fish."
Wicked Tuna's second season brings viewers closer to the action, the drama and the hardships than ever before. Veteran captains Dave Marciano of Hard Merchandise and Bill Monte of the Bounty Hunter struggle to make ends meet after a disappointing season last year. For these captains, their careers are on the line, and failure is not an option. The arrival of the Pin Wheel only exacerbates the pressure as Captain Tyler and his crew quickly make enemies of the Gloucester fleet.
Tensions come to a head after the young crew messes with the biggest hothead in the fleet, Captain Ralph Wilkins of the Odysea, and their rivalry spills over onto the docks. And this season, cameras follow Captain Kevin Leonowert of theChristina as he returns to his roots as a harpoon fisherman, a high-octane chase that requires speed, smarts and precision.
In addition to its insider look at one of America's oldest industries, Wicked Tuna also sheds light on important issues surrounding the fate of the bluefin tuna. While these small-town fishermen struggle to stay afloat financially, where each catch is crucial to their OWN survival, today's bluefin tuna stocks are only one-quarter of what they were in 1950. As the scientific Community debates how best to preserve the species, American fishermen, including the Wicked Tuna captains, continue to adhere to U.S. regulations that determine size limits and quotas for the season.
While these regulations are helpful in sustaining bluefin stocks, the issue is inherently more complex. The migratory Nature of the bluefin tuna means that it traverses several international waters; therefore, preserving this magnificent species requires the cooperation of many nations. Unfortunately, the high demand for bluefin meat in Japan, where sushi lovers will pay top dollar for the delicacy, often puts conservation at odds with avarice. As such, more modern methods of fishing - such as longline or purse seine, both designed to catch fish in large quantities - have become commonplace in other parts of the world.
To help raise awareness of the bluefin's plight, National Geographic Channel aired PSAs in every episode of Wicked Tuna's first season. This year, the campaign has been expanded to call for the preservation of our oceans in general, with PSAs supporting the National Geographic Society's Ocean Initiative.
The robust website created for season one will also expand its coverage to bring awareness of the oceans. Viewers are encouraged to add their voices to the conversation via the website at www.natgeotv.com/wickedtuna, which also features articles, links and message boards devoted to the tuna and oceans.