The $370 a Pound Tuna


At a Tokyo fish auction on Monday, a delicious Japanese bluefin tuna fetched more than $100,000, the highest in nearly a decade (and several times the average price according to market official Takashi Yoshida). Caught off the northern coast of Oma, the 282 pounder went for 9.63 million yen ($104,700). It was the most expensive chicken of the sea since another bluefin snagged 20 million yen, thus scaling the all-time record. Monday’s buy went to a Hong Kong sushi bar owner and, interestingly, his Japanese competitor. Apparently the two joined forces to share the big fish, all $370 per pound of him. It’s not the Hong Kong buyer’s first rodeo, as he also paid the highest price at last year’s New Year event at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the world’s largest fish seller. As a comparison, in another monday auction, a slightly bigger imported bluefin caught off of our eastern shores took in 1.42 million yen, which is $15,400. Typical Tokyo fish market tuna prices are less than $25 per pound, but bluefins are arguably the best. They also have a certain advertising value, underscoring the quality of the restaurant slicing it up, akin to a restaurant known for rare wine. And due to rough seas at December’s end, there were only three Oma bluefins at auction, compared to 41 last year, therefore adding to the exclusivity of the delicacy.