2013’s first auction at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo was held last weekend, and as an event that is known for receiving high bids on the latest catches, this year’s record-setter was three times as high as 2012’s. Kiyoshi Kimura, the president of a popular sushi restaurant chain, paid 155 million yen (approx. $1.78 million) for a single bluefin tuna.
Environmentalists have warned that stocks of the valuable fish are dwindling due to overfishing, as well as some ocean areas being prohibited due to nuclear radiation fears, resulting in even Kimura admitting that the price was a little high. But that didn’t stop the restaurant chief from paying up and immediately taking the fish to the local branch of Sushi Zanmai to begin cutting it up for waiting customers. This year’s top tuna weighed 222 kilograms (489 pounds), and was actually 47 kg lighter than the top fish from last year. Although, bidding prices are based solely on size, or even quality, but rather for publicity and to set a positive tone for the start of the business year.
While Japan is known for consuming more than 50% of the world’s bluefin tuna catch, the price of $7,600 per kg (or about $3,500/lb) is still a bit of a shocker. But the Tsukiji fish market, a popular tourist destination which will actually be shutting down in the coming years for a much-needed relocation, trades in several millions of products daily.
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