Wicked Tuna



Fishing edu-tainment docu reels in lots of salty vocab.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The series highlights the complicated issues surrounding blue fin fishing, ranging from how it sustains traditional fishing communities to the impact the overall industry is having on the ecosystem.

Positive role models

The captains are hard working and rough around the edges. Some of them purposely lie to other fisherman in order to send them off course and away from lucrative fishing waters.


Captains will yell and scream when deck hands lose a fish. The hooking, tying, harpooning, and cutting of fish is visible. Firecrackers are sometimes used to scare away sea gulls; dead sea gulls are occasionally shown hanging (illegally) from boats to scare away birds from the fishing sites.

Not applicable

Contains lots of audible language like "d---head," "prick," plus bleeped swearing ("s--t," "f--k"). Rude hand gestures are blurred.


Captains and crews often wear shirts and jackets bearing logos for various fishing industries, like Angela's Fish Industries, Inc.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Beer drinking and cigarette smoking is visible.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Wicked Tuna contains lots of swearing ("dick," "ass"; "s--t," "f--k" are bleeped), as well as images of (blurred) obscene gestures. The series offers a non-judgmental look at the work of specific blue fish tuna fishermen while discussing the negative impact this specific fishing industry is having on the species and the ocean's ecosystem. Captains and deck hands are rough around the edges -- they're sometimes shown yelling and screaming at each other and other fishermen, as well as smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. While they're hard working, they also deceive others in order to get ahead.

What's the story?

WICKED TUNA looks at how fisherman from Gloucester, Massachusetts navigate the waters of the controversial blue fin tuna industry. It stars Bill Monte, the captain of the Bounty Hunter, Ralph Wilkins, the captain of the Odysea, Dave Marciano, captain of the Hard Merchandise, and Captain Dave Carraro of the Tuna.com sailing out to the Northern Atlantic to catch the endangered blue fin tuna, which can sell for tens of thousands of dollars per head to sushi restaurants around the world. Viewers get to see how the fisherman use individual rods and reels, harpoons, and brute strength to catch one blue fin at time. Catching enough of this fish to support themselves and their families isn't easy, thanks to the dwindling numbers of fish, strict U.S. blue fin fishing regulations, and the sneaky tactics used to keep each other away from lucrative fishing areas. In between show scenes, information about this species of tuna and details about the controversies surrounding the blue fish fishing industry is offered.

Is it any good?


The series offers a non-judgmental and informative look at the blue fish tuna fishing industry by showing it from the point of view of tuna boat captains, who are trying to make an honest living and preserve a way of a life that goes back three centuries. Meanwhile, it offers details about the detrimental impact the industry is having on the blue fin and on the overall ecosystem.

It's a complicated issue, but one that is sometimes overshadowed by the drama brought on by the captains and their crews attempting to bait, hook, reel in, and tie blue fins before wrestling them into their boats. Learning how much they sell each fish for is interesting too. Nonetheless, regardless of whether you are a fishing fan or not, there are some interesting lessons to learn here.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about hunting and fishing. What are the pros and cons? Do you think TV shows like this one help raise awareness about some of the environmental and cultural issues around hunting and fishing? Or are they really designed to entertain people?

  • Why are there so many reality shows about fishermen? What other reality show trends do you notice? Why do you think there is so little variation in reality show programming?

This review of Wicked Tuna was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byBlackhawk067 April 8, 2012

Disappointing....to say the least.

The show is not worth watching and your kids will learn nothing from it other than the fact that these guy have zero respect for the ocean and are solely concerned with the dollar. The captains and crews are the most uneducated bunch that are either genuinely stupid or are just playing "tough guys" for the camera. Either way, it's not worth watching, let alone letting your kids watch.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Teen, 17 years old Written byOGORMAN April 2, 2013

My favorite guilty pleasure show! :)

Wicked Tuna is a highly entertaining show about the tough industry of Bluefin Tuna fishing. The show follows several boats through the waters off of the coast of Gloucester, MA. I don't really see any positive messages or role models that your kids should look up to, seeing as that is not the purpose of this show. I see the purpose of this show as one of education. The only true violence occurs to the fish. In order to catch the fish, they must reel the tuna up to the boat and then stick a harpoon in its back. Also, in order to be priced, a sliver of the fish’s tail must be cut out, and the head and fins are cut off as well. Throughout all of these events the fish's blood can be seen on the decks of the boats, though it is not excessive. There is also one instance in Season 2 where one captain pushes another, almost resulting in a fight (one of the captains is reprimanded for their actions, while the other gets off free). The real issue anyone would have with Wicked Tuna is the strong language. As the review above says, the language is strong and frequent, especially when a fisherman loses a fish. I would have to say that the language on the Pin Wheel - one of the boats - is the worst. Tyler McLaughlin (the captain of the Pinwheel) is most guilty of profane language. Whenever one of his mates (Adam Moser and Alex Whitney in Season 2, and Ari and Justin in Season 3) are not doing exactly what he wants, he instantly gets angry and will swear at them. The only consumerism is the multitude of different shirts and sweatshirts the crews wear that have their boat's logo on them. There is occasional drinking and smoking among the fishermen, all of which are of age. Now that I have that whole thing out of the way, I'll tell you my favorites! :) As far as boats go, the Hot Tuna is definitely my favorite. TJ, Jarrett, and Ryan are three great guys who fish really well together. They rarely argue with each other and are easily the most likable group of guys in the fleet. My two favorite fishermen are: Jarrett Przybyszewski (yes, I spelled it right) and Sandro Maniaci. Jarrett is the first mate of the Hot Tuna. He has his own version of OCD, he calls it Obsessive Cleaning Disorder. :) He's got a great sense of humor and knows exactly what to do when the rod bends. Sandro is another favorite of mine. He is one of the younger guys out on the water, but he definitely holds his weight with the other men. He puts up with Dave and still enjoys all that a life of tuna fishing has to offer. You may think that watching men sit and fish all day long would be horribly boring, but the different scenarios that come up in each episode keep you well entertained. Everything from clueless, novice fishermen to sharks challenges these men every day as they try to earn their paycheck, not only for themselves, but for their families as well.
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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