Let us pause in our quest for tuna to examine some technicalities, since besides its long history of economic and cultural heritage and its status as an icon of sustainable transition, there is also a biological and technical reason why such fascination surrounds the bluefin tuna. And since we have entered the centuries of new technological inventions, it is a good moment to pay attention to these often undervalued features of tuna. Let us call it the tuna machine. To understand the tuna machine we must first travel to Barcelona. At the end of Las Ramblas, Barcelona’s magnificent promenade through the Gothic district, is the city’s Maritime Museum. The royal shipyards which house the museum date back to late medieval times and are worth a visit in themselves for anyone interested in maritime history. The hallways, attractively covered with Gothic stone arches supporting the roof structure, reveal an ambition for naval power. Inside we find a replica of the colossal, 60 m long galley El Real (‘The Royal’), a faithful replica of the flagship of commander John of Austria, who defeated the Turkish sultan in the Battle of Lepanto (1571), as mentioned in the first chapter. Maybe Miguel de Cervantes had been aboard El Real to receive the letter of recommendation from the hand of the commander himself. Cervantes own marine division probably sailed a similar ship.
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