Monday, 25 March, 2019

Bluefin goes for $3 million at 1st 2019 sale at Tokyo market

Japan sushi tycoon pays record tuna price Giant tuna fetches record $3.1 million in auction at Japan´s new market
Orlando Vargas | 05 January, 2019, 22:56

"However, since I was able to buy a good one, I'd like customers to try it", Kimura told reporters.

The sushi boss had held the record for paying the most for a single fish at the new year's auction for six straight years until he was outbid in 2017.

The owner of a Japanese sushi restaurant chain on Saturday set a record by paying more than $3 million for a bluefin tuna in the year's first auction at Tokyo's new fish market, exceeding his own record price of 2013.

Kimura has been the highest bidder at the new year auction for several years.

The enormous 278-kilogramme (612-pound) fish, which is considered an endangered species, fetched whopping 333.6 million yen.

Despite the relocation, the auction ritual remained intact: before dawn, buyers in rubber boots were inspecting the quality of the giant fresh and frozen tunas by examining the neatly cut tail end with flashlights and rubbing slices between their fingers.

The fish's price tag is the equivalent of almost 70kg of gold or a three-bed apartment in Manhattan, but Kiyoshi Kimura believes it's worth every cent as he's eager to serve his clients.

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Japan is the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption here and overseas has led to overfishing.

But the Japanese government, together with other countries, is backing plans to rebuild Pacific bluefin stocks of the fish, which is now depleted by 96 percent from their pre-industrial levels.

Decades-old Tsukiji was one of Japan's most popular tourist destinations as well as the world's biggest fish market.

But Toyosu is located on the site of a former gas plant and the soil was found to be contaminated, forcing local authorities to spend millions of dollars to clean it up and delaying the move.

Toyosu market -- a new tourist attraction in Tokyo -- is a closed facility suited for controlling temperatures and sanitation and is 1.7 times larger than Tsukiji.

The new market opened in October.

Tsukiji is scheduled to be redeveloped, though for now it's being turned into a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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