A record $3.1 m (Rs 21 crore) has been paid for a giant bluefin tuna at Tokyo’s new fish market, which replaced the world-famous Tsukiji late last year.
The winning bid for the prized but threatened species at the predawn auction on Saturday was more than double the 2013 annual New Year auction.
Self-styled “Tuna King” Kiyoshi Kimura paid the top price, which doubled the previous record of 155 million yen also paid by him in 2013. The 278 kg fish (612 pounds) was caught off Japan’s northern coast. Speaking to Japanese broadcaster NHK, he said, “The quality of the tuna I bought is the best.” Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
The auction attracts not only fishermen, chefs and fish specialists but also the media in hordes. Japan consumes a large portion of the global bluefin catch, a highly prized sushi ingredient known in Japan as "kuro maguro" (black tuna) and dubbed by sushi connoisseurs as the "black diamond" because of its scarcity. A single piece of "otoro", or the fish's fatty underbelly, can cost dozens of dollars at high-end Tokyo restaurants.. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
The auction prices are way above usual for bluefin tuna. The fish normally sells for up to $125 (Rs 8,690) a kilogram but the price more than doubles near the year's end, especially for prized catches from Oma in northern Japan. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters