Demand down, income down, anxiety up
It may have driven down bluefin tuna prices and incomes drastically, but Dave Carraro says the pandemic has also had a positive effect on the boat captains of “Wicked Tuna,” in that it’s forged a spirit of cooperation.
“It did change the dynamic of how we worked or did not work together,” Carraro, captain of the FV-Tuna.com, says. “We all agreed that, ‘Hey, let’s work together.’ Yeah, everybody was still competitive or everybody still wanted to be that top boat but we all helped one another out with regards to where we were fishing. ‘Hey, you go this way, I’ll go that way.’ And you know, we shared information and we shared tactics, you know, how we were fishing, baits we were fishing, how deep we were fishing, just to help one another along for the season for a common goal. And that’s to catch and make what money we can considering the circumstances.”
Indeed, Season 10 of the Sunday National Geographic unscripted series finds the boat captains of Gloucester, Mass., scrapping to get by. Restaurants are shut down or at very limited capacity and thus demand for bluefin tuna is down, which means so are prices that captains are getting. Furthermore, commercial fishermen are allowed to fish only three days a week, so if they catch nothing in those three days, they have to wait another week to fish – for tuna at rock-bottom prices.
As a result, Carraro had to be more cost-conscious, doing things like fishing closer to shore and traveling slower to burn less fuel. And he’s expecting more of the same conditions this summer, though maybe not to same degree as a year ago.
“We’re hoping more restaurants are open,” he says, “we’re hoping that people start to slide back into their normal routine going out to eat. And hopefully restaurants can have not zero capacity or just 25 percent capacity but they can have 50 or maybe even 100 percent capacity as things improve and there’s going to be more of a demand for bluefin. And hopefully we’ll be able to fish daily as opposed to last year.”
Name: David Carraro
Birth date: April 23, 1965
Birthplace: Staten Island, N.Y.
Raised in: Monmouth County, N.J.
Current residence: Gloucester, Mass.
Marital status: Single; in a relationship with Jess Boardway, a Gloucester high-school teacher
Nickname: Tricky Dave, for his secretive nature
Other pursuits: He’s also a pilot for JetBlue Airways.
In his spare time: He skis and surfs.
Ironic factoid: He hates seafood.