A bluefin tuna sold for a record breaking $1.76 million at an auction in Tokyo on Saturday.
The sale is more than twice the previous record of $736,000.
According to Boston.com, the record breaking tuna was sold at the first auction of the year at the Tsukji fish market. The 489 pound fish was caught off the northeastern coast of Japan and was purchased by Kiyoshi Kimura of the Kiyomura Company for 155.4 million yen.
Kimura, who runs the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, paid about $3500 per pound for the fish. The restaurant owner said that he paid more than he expected but didn’t mind because he wanted to give “Japan a boost.”
The annual auction at the Tsukji fish market brings in big money and big fish but it also brings controversy. The bluefin tuna population has been in sharp decline over the last decade due to overfishing. The global tuna conservation team at the Pew Environment Group believes that the annual auction distracts people from the environmental issues inherent with overfishing in Japan.
“Within the next few days, the first giant Pacific bluefin tuna of 2013 is expected to be auctioned in Tokyo for an astronomical price. Last January, one fish sold for a record $736,000 and made headlines around the world. Purchasing a single bluefin for such a remarkably high price has become an annual cultural event in Japan. But, the fanfare surrounding this event masks a real and pressing problem: the population of this majestic fish is a fraction of what it used to be, and management is practically non-existent.”
Are you surprised that a single fish could sell for more than $1.76 million? Kimura will be able to make some of that money back by selling the fatty slices, called “o-toro,” for $24 a piece.