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The Tuna King

A Single 612-Pound Bluefin Tuna Sold for $3.1 Million at a 2019 Auction in Japan

A tuna is a saltwater fish of the tribe Thunnini, a subfamily of the Scombridae family. The Thunnini family has 15 species spread across five genera, with sizes ranging from the bullet tuna to the Atlantic bluefin tuna, which can grow to be 2 meters long and live for up to 50 years. But what is the most expensive tuna ever auctioned in Japan?

In the 2019 sale in Japan, a single 612-pound bluefin tuna sold for 333.6 million yen. This is more than twice the previous high of 155 million yen established in 2013.

Kiyoshi Kimura: The Tuna King

Kiyoshi Kimura, the self-proclaimed Japanese Tuna King and sushi restaurant owner, paid a record $3.1 million or 333.6 million yen for a huge bluefin tuna at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market’s New Year’s auction.

Kimura’s bid more than doubled the previous record of 155 million yen achieved at the annual New Year’s auction in 2013. The valuable and fragile fish weighed 612 pounds (278 kg).

Sushi president Zanmai stated he was surprised by how high the price climbed but was not deterred from breaking the record.

According to Japanese broadcaster NHK, the giant bluefin tuna was taken near northern Japan’s Aomori prefecture.

The sale occurred at the first New Year’s auction following the closure of Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji wholesale fish market, one of the city’s most prominent tourist attractions. Tsukiji was regarded as the world’s largest fish and seafood market.

In October, the market closed and relocated to Toyosu, a new facility nearby.

Japan, the world’s largest tuna consumer, frequently faces international criticism as the Pacific bluefin tuna population declines. Because those fish do not breed consistently in captivity, Japanese scientists have spent decades devising methods to generate full-cycle farmed fish. (Source: CNN)

Bluefin and Yellowfin Tuna Comparison

Both bluefin and yellowfin tuna are top predators in the world’s oceans. However, they have distinct differences. There are three recognized bluefin species and just one recognized yellowfin species worldwide. All three bluefin species are highly valued as both sport and culinary fish, but the yellowfin is also increasing in both markets. These huge, powerful fish are identified as apex predators in every ecosystem they visit.

Many fish species are threatened with extinction due to excessive overfishing, but tuna populations are particularly vulnerable. Bluefin tuna is more vulnerable due to limited supply and high demand, and this supply decline has also harmed yellowfin tuna. Currently, tuna fishing practices are not sustainable in the bluefin or yellowfin, with the bluefin being the most vulnerable. (Source: A-Z Animals)

Culinary Value of Tuna

Bluefin tuna may be the world’s most sought-after commercial fish. It is a precious fish, with a 600-pound bluefin selling for $3 million at a Japanese auction. Japan is the principal consumer, where it is used in sushi. Atlantic bluefin typically sells for more than $200 a pound.

Yellowfin tuna is also used in cooking, albeit less rare or as huge as bluefin. As a result, they are less costly. Sushi, sashimi, and even steaks are made with yellowfin. These fish are known as “ahi” in Hawaiian culture, which many people are familiar with. In commercial settings, yellowfin are often priced between $8 and $15 per pound. (Source: A-Z Animals)

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