The 278-kilogram animal was bought by the sushi zanmai restaurant chain on saturday at the first auction this year at the new fish market in the japanese capital. The fish had been caught in oma, one of the country’s best tuna fishing grounds, at the northern tip of the main island of honshu.
Nowhere is bluefin tuna eaten as much as in japan. Overfishing, which has long been the subject of international criticism, has led to the species’ existence being severely threatened.
Kiyoshi kimura, president of the restaurant chain, had already bought the most expensive tuna at the first auction of the year from 2012 to 2017. In 2013 he paid the record price of about 1.26 million euros for a 222 kilogram bluefin tuna, which was valid until the end of the year.
The high prices at the new year’s auction are not so much due to the quality of the fish. The whole thing is a clever PR campaign to kick off the new fiscal year, which is reported on by the media every year.
Kimura said after the purchase on saturday: "i didn’t expect so much money. But since it is possible for me to buy a good (fish), I would like the customers to taste it."
The auction took place at the toyosu market, which opened in october in the port area of tokyo. The tsukiji fish market, built in 1935 and considered a mecca for fish lovers, had previously been closed despite fierce protests. Move to nearby artificial island delayed by nearly two years as tokyo struggles with soil and air pollution near toyosu. A gas production plant used to stand there.