As if bluefin tuna didn’t have enough of a fight against commercial anihilalation, the first sale of the year in Tokyo saw the record setting sale of a single bluefin tuna for nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.
The 593-pound fish, caught off Oma in Aomori prefecture just north of the tsunami-battered coast, fetched a record $736,000 last week at the Tsukiji fish market. This fish, at 1,241 per pound, bests last year’s record, which was a record $421,000 for a single fish.
Officials noted that the outlandish price has more to do with the symbolism and excitement of the opening of the auction season than it does the true market value of tuna.
The buyer, who operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, explained that he paid the high price to express his confidence and support of Japan’s recovery from the devastating tsunami the country suffered last March. He said that as well he wanted to keep the fish in Japan.
Bluefin tuna is prized for its tender red meat. The best slices of fatty bluefin can sell for $24 per piece at tony Tokyo sushi bars.
A Sushi-Zanmai shop in Tsujiki was selling sushi from the prized fish for $5.45 a piece Thursday, considerably less than the inflated value paid at auction. Japanese eat 80 percent of the catch of Atlantic and Pacific bluefins.