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Bluefin Tuna Sold For Record USD 1.8 Million Japan, January 7, 13

On Saturday, a massive bluefin tuna sold for a record USD 1.8 million in the year’s first auction at Japan’s Tsukiji fish market. The winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, who operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, and he claimed the 488-pound fish for nearly three times the previous high set last year.
At 2012’s opening auction, Kimura paid USD 740,000 for a 754-pound bluefin tuna.
The fish’s meat is especially prized by the Japanese, who enjoy it as sushi and sashimi, and eat about 80% of the bluefin tuna caught worldwide. At upscale restaurants in Japan, high quality slices of bluefin can sell for more than USD 20 per piece.
But while the strong demand for sushi exists, environmentalists warn of the immense fishing pressure facing Pacific bluefin tuna.
“The fanfare surrounding this event masks a real and pressing problem: the population of this majestic fish is a fraction of what it used to be, and management is practically non-existent,” says Dave Bard, a communications officer at the PEW environment group.
Stocks of all three bluefin species – the Pacific, Southern and Atlantic – have fallen over the past 15 years due to overfishing. Scientists are expected to shortly release a new assessment for the Pacific bluefin stock and PEW believes the results will show an alarming decline.