Saturday, April 13

Bluefin tuna sells for record $3M at Tokyo auction

A 612-pound bluefin tuna sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($3 million) at the first auction of 2019, after Tokyo’s popular Tsukiji market was moved to a new site on the city’s waterfront. The winning bid for the prized yet threatened species at the predawn auction Saturday was more than double the 2013 yearly New Year auction.

It was paid by Kiyomura Corp., whose owner, Kiyoshi Kimura, runs the Sushi Zanmai chain. Kimura has often won the yearly auction past. The self-styled “Tuna King” said “the quality of the tuna I bought is the best.”

Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a beaming Kimura saying that he was shocked by the high cost of tuna this year.

The auction costs are path above normal for bluefin tuna. The fish ordinarily sells for up to $40 a pound ($88 a kilogram), however the value ascends to over $200 a pound close to the year’s end, particularly for prized gets from Oma in northern Japan.

A year ago’s auction was the last at Tsukiji before the market moved to a new facility on a former gas plant site on Tokyo Bay. The move was delayed more than once because of worries over soil contamination.

Japanese are the greatest consumers of the torpedo-formed bluefin fish, and surging consumption here and overseas has led to overfishing of the species. Specialists caution it faces conceivable extinction, with stocks of Pacific bluefin depleted by 96 percent from their pre-industrial levels.

“The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is,” said Jamie Gibbon, associate manager for global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts.

On a normal day a similar sized fish would sell for around $60,000, BBC News’ Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Tokyok. Saturday’s record is in part about status – and it makes a lot of publicity for Kimura and his sushi empire.

In any case, it is additionally a reflection of the scarcity of large Pacific bluefin fish. They are formally recorded by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) as an endangered species.

In 2018, catches off the coast of Japan were fundamentally down, and since the middle of a year ago costs in Tokyo have climbed by in excess of 40 percent.

There are indications of advancement toward securing the bluefin, and Japan and other governments have backed plans to rebuild Pacific bluefin stocks, with a target of 20 percent of historic levels by 2034.

Decades-old Tsukiji was one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations just as the world’s greatest fish market. The new market opened in October. A few businesses remained in Tsukiji, however about the majority of the 500 or more wholesalers and other businesses shifted to Toyosu.

Tsukiji is due to be redeveloped, though for now it’s being moved toward a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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