A Japanese Sushiz Chain restaurant has paid $632,000 for a single Pacific Bluefin Tuna Fish at the Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market.
The winning bid Thursday, Jan. 5 for the prized but imperiled species was the second highest ever after a record 155.4 million yen bid in 2013.
Today’s deal could be the last New Year’s auction at the market and the fish was paid for by the restaurant.
The world’s largest fish market was supposed to be relocated last November to make way for a road needed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but was delayed due to environmental concerns.
The delay allowed Tsukiji to hold at least one more New Year’s auction, which is considered auspicious and a great way for the winning bidder to gain some publicity.
Kiyomura Corp. owner Kiyoshi Kimura posed after the predawn New Year auction with the gleaming, man-sized fish, which was caught off the coast of northern Japan’s Aomori prefecture.
For the sixth straight year, Kiyoshi Kimura, President of Kiyomura Corp, which owns the Sushizanmai chain, had the winning bid, paying 72 million yen (614,000 dollars) for a 212 kilogram (467 pound) Pacific bluefin tuna — a species experts warn is being overfished.
The Tokyo government, which decided on the move 15 years ago, is expected to get results from environmental tests at the new location within weeks.
The outlook for Bluefin Tuna Fish, considered the king of sushi, is also uncertain.
Global appetite for sushi has driven numbers of the species to dangerously low levels.
Scientific assessments completed in July showed that the number of Pacific bluefin has fallen to just 2.6 per cent of its original estimated size.
“This tuna is being fished at rates up to three times higher than scientists say is sustainable,” Amanda Nickson, director of global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said in a recent report.
According to Reuters, Pew and a dozen other environmental groups have called for a two-year moratorium on commercial fishing of the species.