Sushi Restaurateur Spends $1.76 Million on a Single Bluefin Tuna | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Sushi Restaurateur Spends $1.76 Million on a Single Bluefin Tuna

A bluefin tuna goes for $3,599 per pound

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Bluefin tuna being sold at auction last year. Photo: Dennis Tang

Koyoshi Kimura, the head of Japanese sushi chain Kiyomura K. K., dropped 155.4 million yen—the equivalent of 1.76 million U.S. dollars—to take home the first bluefin tuna of the season, a 489-pound fish sold at a Tokyo auction, says the Los Angeles Times.

Bluefin tuna are the world’s most valuable fish, says the paper, as they are highly sought for use in sushi and sashimi dishes. But as demand has grown, primarily in Japan, says Quartz, bluefin populations have dwindled. There are just 25,000 mature Bluefins left, says the Times. The new record-setting price trumps the previous record, set just last year, by 275 percent. You can see the $1.76 million dollar fish here:

Bluefin tuna are sold at auction in Japan, and as the first fish of the year, the price was greatly inflated above its actual market value. “Nevertheless,” says Quartz, “the auction reflects a basic supply-and-demand problem: bluefin tuna populations are dwindling as Japan’s appetite for otoro sushi, taken from the tuna’s belly, continues to grow.”

Along with reflecting the supply-and-demand issue, says the Times, the aggressive auctions may actually be driving the problem: “Environmentalists often accuse the uber-competitive auction of encouraging a culture overfishing to satiate demand for the fish.”

More from Smithsonian.com:

50 Years of Longline Fishermen Throwing Out the Endangered Half of Their Catch
Mystery at Sea

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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