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Monday January 6, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Monday January 6, 2014 MYT 8:58:21 AM
TOKYO: Sushi restaurateur Kiyoshi Kimura has paid 7.36 million yen (RM224,000) for a 230kg bluefin tuna in the year’s celebratory first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, just 5% of what he paid a year earlier despite signs that the species is in serious decline.
Kimura’s record winning bid last year of 154.4 million yen (RM4.7mil) for a 222kg fish drew complaints that prices had soared way out of line, even for an auction that has always drawn high bids. Kimura also set the previous record of 56.4 million yen (RM1.7mil) at the 2012 auction.
The high prices do not necessarily reflect exceptionally high fish quality.
“I’m glad that the congratulatory price for this year’s bid went back to being reasonable,” said Kimura, whose Kiyomura Co operates the popular Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain.
Environmentalists say growing worldwide consumption of bluefin tuna is leading to its depletion, and that those in charge of managing fisheries for the species are failing to take responsible action to protect it.
Japanese eat about 80% of all bluefin tuna caught worldwide, though demand is growing as others acquire a taste for the tender, pink and red flesh of the torpedo-shaped speedsters of the sea.
There were 1,729 tuna fish sold in yesterday’s first auction for 2014, according to data from the city government, down from 2,419 last year. The 32,000 yen (RM976) per kilo paid for the top fish this year pales in comparison to the 700,000 yen (RM21,350) per kilo last year. — AP
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