TOKYO — A 612-pound (278-kilogram) bluefin tuna sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($3 million) at the first auction of 2019, after Tokyo‘s famed Tsukiji market was moved to a new site on the city’s waterfront.
The winning bid for the prized but threatened species at the predawn auction Saturday was more than double the 2013 annual New Year auction.
It was paid by Kiyomura Corp., whose owner, Kiyoshi Kimura, runs the Sushi Zanmai chain. Kimura has often won the annual auction in the past.
Japanese broadcaster NHK showed a beaming Kimura saying that he was surprised by the high price of tuna this year. But he added, “The quality of the tuna I bought is the best.”
The auction prices are way above usual for bluefin tuna. The fish normally sells for up to $40 a pound ($88 a kilogram), but the price rises to over $200 a pound near the year’s end, especially for prized catches from Oma in northern Japan.