Filed under: Dining
The first sale of the year at at the Tsukiji fish market auction in Tokyo traditionally brings high prices and this year is off to a booming start. A 754-pound tuna sold for a record 32.49 million yen, or nearly $396,000 in the first auction of the year on Wednesday. That works out to over $526 a pound. The previous record was set back in 2001 when a 445-pound fish sold for 20.2 million yen. The fish was caught off the coast of northern Japan and was one of over 500 shipped in for the auction.
The exceptionally large fish was bought by the owners of Kyubey, an upscale sushi restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza district, and Itamae Sushi, a casual, Hong Kong-based chain. Japan continues to be the world's biggest consumer of seafood, with Japanese eating 80 percent of the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins caught. Many restaurants around the world have taken bluefin tuna off their menus in a response to reports that overfishing is causing decline in tuna stocks. Last year the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas voted to cut the bluefin fishing quota in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean from 13,500 to 12,900 metric tons annually, a move that was seen as not nearly drastic enough to ease the problem of decimated tuna populations in the Atlantic and Mediterranean.