Tuna sells for $1.8 million at Tokyo auction

This appeared in The Millennial Source

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A bluefin tuna has sold for $1.8 million in the first auction of the new year at Tokyo’s Toyosu Fish Market, marking the second-highest price ever to be paid in a fish auction. The tuna weighed 276 kg (608 lb) and was caught off the northern Aomori Prefecture.

According to state broadcaster, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), the successful bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, head of Sushizanmai — a sushi restaurant chain. Kimura was dubbed “ The Tuna King” after he paid a record $3.14 million to become the successful bidder for a 278 kg (612 lb) tuna in 2018.

The Tuna King is no stranger to media attention for paying exorbitant amounts of money for fish. “Yes, this is expensive, isn’t it? I want our customers to eat very tasty ones this year too,” he told reporters at the auction.

Why bluefin tuna is so expensive

As of 2015, a large bluefin has been going for $50,000 to $70,000 in Japan, meaning most American markets cannot compete. As Japanese demand increases, fewer bluefin reach breeding age, significantly reducing populations through overfishing — likely skyrocketing prices again.

Extinction concerns

Most catches of Atlantic bluefin tuna are taken from the Mediterranean Sea, which is the main bluefin tuna fishery in the world.
To improve breeding stock and keep a steady supply of bluefin, aquaculturists are working to establish sea farms where schools of tuna are raised in the open ocean and then herded to market.

This practice is seen as a sustainable sushi movement. However, it is a seemingly difficult task as bluefin is a delicate species and not fit for farming. It took the research team at Japan’s Kinki (Kindai) University 32 years to successfully establish a fully-closed life-cycle farming program for bluefin tuna.

Originally published at https://themilsource.com on January 6, 2020.

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