Endangered Bluefin Tuna Bought for Record $3.1 Million by Sushi Tycoon
Tokyo New Year auction brings in more than double the previous record bid for a single fish.
Sushi entrepreneur Kiyoshi Kimura paid a record $3.1 million for a 612 pound bluefin tuna at the annual New Year fish market auction in Tokyo. The price was more than double the previous record auction sale for a single fish, set in 2013.
Kimura, who owns the successful Sushi Kanmai chain of restaurants, expressed surprise that the bidding went as high as it did. But he said “the quality of the tuna I bought is the best.”
However, the inflated prices speak to a systemic problem with the bluefin tuna: its endangered status. Thanks to the unrelenting demand for sushi in Japan and across the globe, the bluefin tuna has been a victim of rampant overfishing. Marine biology experts now believe just four percent of the species remains from its pre-industrial level populations.
Despite expressed support by the Japanese government to protect and rebuild bluefin tuna fisheries for the future, Jamie Gibbon, who focuses on global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts, did not share in Kimura’s enthusiasm for the record purchase. “The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is,” Gibbon said.
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