Saturday, 12 January 2013

Japanese restauranteur pays $1.76m for a single tuna

A Japanese restauranteur has paid a record-breaking $1.76 million for a single bluefin tuna. The new record was set at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.

The amount paid doesn't just reflect the rarity of the catch - although bluefin tuna are increasingly rare - but also the fame and publicity associated with buying the first tuna of the season.

The record was broken just days before new research from the Pew Environment Group showed that bluefin numbers in the Pacific are 96.4% below pre-fishing levels. More worryingly, nine out of ten of all the bluefin tuna being caught today are youngsters who have not yet reproduced.

Here are some photos I took on a visit to the Tsukiji fish market several years ago:

The market is a fascinating place to wander but you have to arrive at 6 or 7am to see any of the action.

The market demonstrated Japan's deep connection with seafood, and especially tuna, like no-where else I visited. Japanese sushi-eaters are extremely attuned to the quality of the tuna they eat.

Each torpedo-like tuna is rolled onto the floor and carefully examined by potential buyers, before being auctioned and packed into ice coffins or carted away.

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