One fish sells for $1.7 million at auction in Japan

Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., poses with a bluefin tuna in front of his restaurant Sushi Zanmai near Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo on Saturday. The bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 155.40 million yen, or about $1,763,000, in the first auction of the year at the fish market. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Yes, you read the title correctly, One fish sold for $1.7 millon at auction in Japan! The fish in question is a 222 kg bluefin tuna. And if you do the math, the $1.7 million breaks down to $7928 per kilogram, and in restaurants one piece of bluefin sushi or sashimi could sell for $24 a piece. This is record-setting for the most expensive fish ever sold at auction (except for maybe artist Damien Hirst’s 14 foot tiger shark in formaldehyde – but then, that is art and not food).

So why is this fish so expensive? Bluefin tuna is highly sought after by the restaurant industry and prized for its tender, fatty red meat. Due to the declining populations of this fish, they have become harder to catch, and thus are becoming more and more expensive. Not only is over-fishing a cause for population decline, but bluefin tuna are also slow to mature; many fish are being caught before they reach sexual maturity.

80% of the bluefin tuna caught worldwide is consumed in Japan.

Visit the Gulf of Georgia Cannery’s Seafood for Thought temporary exhibit to learn more about sustainable seafood choices.
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