A bluefin tuna sold for a record $1.76 million at a Tokyo auction Saturday, blasting last year’s record of $736,000 out of the water.
The 489-pound fish caught off northeastern Japan fetched 155.4 million yen at the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. That works out to about $3,603 per pound of the glistening pink and red meat.
Winning bidder Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., which operates sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai, acknowledged to a Japanese news agency that “the price was a bit high,” but said he wanted to “encourage Japan.” The Japanese eat 80 percent of the bluefin tuna caught worldwide, according to the Associated Press.
Kimura, who set last year’s tuna auction record as well, served the fish to his customers later in the day.
Environmentalists say stocks of bluefin tuna are on a dangerous decline due to overfishing to meet sushi demand.
“Everything we’re hearing is that there’s no good news for the Pacific Bluefin [species],” Amanda Nickson, director of the Washington-based Pew Environmental Group’s global tuna conservation campaign, told the AP. “We’re seeing a very high value fish continue to be overfished.”