Giant tuna fetches record $3.1 million at Japan auction | News | DW | 05.01.2019
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Giant tuna fetches record $3.1 million at Japan auction

A quarter-ton bluefin tuna has sold for more than double the previous record at the first Tokyo fish auction of 2019. The buyer was a Japanese sushi entrepreneur who calls himself the "Tuna King."

A 278-kilogram (610-pound) bluefin tuna sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($3.1 million, €2.7 million) in the first auction at Japan's new Toyosu market.

The fish, valued at 1.2 million yen per kilogram, was caught off the coast of Japan's main island of Honshu. The buyer was Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain.

'I bought a good tuna'

The price was more than double the previous record of 155 million yen, which Kimura paid at the Tsukiji auction in 2013. He bought the most expensive tuna at the first auction of the year from 2012 to 2017. 

"I bought a good tuna," said the self-styled "Tuna King" Kimura. "The price was higher than I originally thought, but I hope our customers will eat this excellent tuna."

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Extinction threat

The Toyosu fish market opened in October after the famed Tsukiji market closed following 83 years of business. Tsukiji was one of Japan's top tourist attractions and was frequented by top sushi chefs and ordinary grocery stores alike. The first auction of the year attracted big fish spenders who would pay top dollar for the biggest and best fish.

Japan is the world's largest consumer of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna. National and international demand for the fish has led to overfishing of the species, with experts warning of its possible extinction. Stocks of the Pacific bluefin have dropped by 96 percent compared to pre-industrial levels.

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dv/sms (AFP, AP, dpa)

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