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Wednesday, 9th January 2013
In General Japan News,

Tsukiji fish market auction sets record price for Bluefin tuna

Visitors to Tokyo's famous Tsukiji fish market may have been surprised to see the amount that a rare single Bluefin tuna sold for when it was put up for sale at the site's inaugural auction of 2013.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who owns a chain of sushi restaurants in Japan, spent an eye-watering 155m yen (£1.09 million) buying the fish and conceded that the cost was "a bit high" even for him.

The sale smashed the previous highest sum paid for a Bluefin tuna and the Daily Telegraph estimated that a single portion of the fish would set customers back 19,500 yen (£139), compared to the usual 2,000 yen (£14) a customer would normally pay for Bluefin sashimi.

However happy Mr Kimura may have been with the sale, it is not without controversy as the Pew Environment Group has called for a stop on fishing the species as it suggested Bluefins are at risk of extinction unless action is taken now.

The problem is being compounded as the majority of Bluefin which are fished are being caught young, before they have had a chance to reproduce.

Director of global tuna conservation at the Pew Environment Group, said: "This highly valuable fish is being exploited at almost every stage of its lifecycle, and more than 90 per cent of Pacific bluefin caught are juveniles, taken before they have even reproduced.

"Further, fishing continues on the spawning grounds of this heavily overfished tuna species."
She said that the latest data compiled on the population of Pacific Bluefin reveals that it is now just "a small fraction" of what it was in the past.

Concern over the population of Bluefins has been around for some time now with the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas confirming in October 2009 that stocks have decreased significantly in the last four decades.

It reported that over the last 40 years stocks have depleted by as much as 82 per cent in the Western Atlantic and by some 72 per cent in the Eastern Atlantic.

Written by Mark Smith