Holy mackerel! Tuna sold for $736,000 in Tokyo

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MOST EXPENSIVE TUNA. Sushi chefs of Kiyomura Co. hold a slice of a bluefin tuna at their Sushi Zanmai restaurant near Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo on Thursday. The bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 56.49 million yen, or about $736,000, Thursday in the first auction of the year at the fish market. The tuna was caught off Oma in Aomori prefecture and just north of the coast that was battered by the March 11 tsunami. AP/Shizuo Kambayashi

TOKYO—This tuna is worth savoring: It cost nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

A bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 56.49 million yen, or about $736,000, on Thursday in the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market. The price for the 593-pound (269-kilogram) tuna beat last year’s record of 32.49 million yen.

In pesos, that’s P32,479,680 based on a conversion rate of P44.130 to $1.

The price translates to 210,000 yen per kilogram, or $1,238 per pound—also a record, said Yutaka Hasegawa, a Tsukiji market official.

Though the fish is undoubtedly high quality, the price has more to do with the celebratory atmosphere that surrounds the first auction of the year.

The winning bidder, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., which operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, said he wanted to give Japan a boost after last March’s devastating tsunami.

“Japan has been through a lot the last year due to the disaster,” a beaming Kimura told AP Television News. “Japan needs to hang in there. So I tried hard myself and ended up buying the most expensive one.”

Kimura also said he wanted to keep the fish in Japan “rather than let it get taken overseas.”

Caught off Japan

Last year’s bid winners were Hong Kong entrepreneur Ricky Cheng, who runs the Hong Kong-based chain Itamae Sushi, and an upscale Japanese restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district.

This year’s record tuna was caught off Oma, in Aomori prefecture and just north of the tsunami-battered coast.

Bluefin tuna is prized for its tender red meat. The best slices of fatty bluefin—called “o-toro” here—can sell for 2,000 yen ($24) per piece at tony Tokyo sushi bars.

Shoppers look at the pricy bluefin tuna in front of a restaurant near Tsukiji fish market. AP/Shizuo Kambayashi

A Sushi-Zanmai shop in Tsujiki was selling fatty tuna sushi from the prized fish for 418 yen ($5.45) apiece on Thursday.

“It’s superb. I can do nothing but smile. I am very happy,” said Kosuke Shimogawara, a 51-year-old customer, who pointed out that if sold at cost, each piece of sushi could cost as much as 8,000 yen ($96).

Unbelievable!

“It’s unbelievable. President Kimura is so generous. I have to say thank you to him,” he said.

Japanese eat 80 percent of the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins caught—the most sought-after by sushi lovers. Japanese fishermen, however, face growing calls for tighter fishing rules amid declining tuna stocks worldwide.

In November 2010, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas voted to cut the bluefin fishing quota in the eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean by about 4 percent, from 13,500 to 12,900 metric tons annually. It also agreed on measures to try to improve enforcement of quotas on bluefin.

The decision was strongly criticized by environmental groups, which hoped to see bluefin fishing slashed or suspended.

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  • joeldcndcn

    let these environmentalist “suck” their thumbs, the tuna caught in the country’s waters belonged to them not to those hypocrite environmentalists who are meat eaters in their country, OK?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_I27QWMWFJLRZSXFUEJ5BTRP2GY nosebleed

    mag-tawilis na lang po tayo…

  • DurangoJoe

    These Japanese have to sell a lot of Hondas, Toyotas and Subarus to keep eating these super expensive bluefin tunas. Me, I’m happy with eating danggit sawsaw sa vinegar with sinangag.

  • Manuel_II

    $ 736k or 32m pesos, with that much money, i think i can retire, LOL

  • Patas

    A lot of money for some fish….sayang sana mas nagamit pa sa mas magandang bagay ang pera. Pero syempre, pera niya yun so hayaan na lang siya enjoy his luxuries.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FHE3SLJLDR4PL27A563XPVGFSQ DAR

    I’m willing to pay a dollar just to lick the entire single pound of this thing.

  • WAJ

    I was in Japan for almost 8 years (1972-1975) & (1980-1985), Tuna fish is the # 1 fish in the country and way to expensive. Japanese like to eat raw tuna meat, you got it made if you dip a piece of tuna meat in soy sauce with washabe. Bring back old memories when we are kampay (drinking Sake) around Lake Towada, Aomori Perfecture with my best friend Master Fukuda and some old tomadastsi.

    • delpillar

      According to expert, recent studies have shown that WASABI has characteristics suppressing a bacterium responsible for many stomach related diseases, such as gastric inflammation and possibly even stomach cancer. Some have promoted it as a means to prevent food poisoning, one of the reasons why it is often served alongside SUSHI, SASHIMI or other raw fish.

      The best wasabi experience a person could hope for is by getting the actual root and grating it themselves. When it is freshly grated, it tends to pack a much stronger flavor, which it only maintains for about 15 minutes after preparation. It also retains more of the healthy elements than manufactured WASABI.

      But beware, wasabi fans; there isn’t only one type of WASABI with therapeutic claim; that is the JAPANESE real WASABI. When you come across it in the supermarket specially in the Philippines, US etc., you may find numerous different types of wasabi paste, but only a few of them actually include the Wasabia Japonica, referred to by the Japanese as “real” wasabi.

      Most wasabi manufacturers use a root called “western wasabi,” more commonly known as horseradish. It provides the same sort of burning sensation as the apanese variety, but not the same color and flavor.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Z7AH6YCCWSSUXMBAV2OTNY3WS4 smokey

    I don’t get it. What is the big deal about this fish?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OHOD5EA75DBBUH53UKLRXRK764 Mang Teban

    The Japanese have habits which Filipinos will find strange. So with us that foreigners find strange. Let the Japanese and other tuna fish lovers spend money “foolishly” on a piece of marine aquatic product sold exclusively for those who can afford.

    Compared to us, we have fish pen operators who would deny that they overpopulate their pens and cause an enormous waste of investments due to “fish-kill”. Not to be outdone, we ship daily tons and tons of our catch of the best tuna to countries like Japan and the yearly catch in the seas in our country is dwindling also due to uncontrolled over-fishing. Go and search for the same quality of exported tuna in your favorite wet market and you won’t find one. You have to go to an expensive Japanese restaurant or hotel to be able to eat this mouth-watering tuna. What most our countrymen eat as tuna are second-class and third-class tuna fish.

    So, now, who is more foolish? The Japanese or the Filipino tuna lover?

    • Selatan

      Pareho silang hindi foolish, SIR.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_PNTIGXL3JZVKOJDRXXDYGGBUUY Jerry

    The ones in GenSan is good too. Right, it’s the celebratory mood and the hype that comes with it that makes that fishy expensive. 240 pesos per slice, good night.

  • kuraratsa

    dito sa amin libre lang yan hehe

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_XEJYR6R3KYZVSIOVSYFC2W44UQ Magno S

    nonesense! unbriddled commercialism that is… better spend the money for good cause…

    Filipinos, too, eat the best tuna in the world caught in Gensan. The problem with the mentality of getting the best tuna in order to get the best price is that there will be a tendency for overfishing. The hype of this kind in Japan brings more negative effect to our environment. Therefore, let us condemn this

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5STEU22AD7YRHQSB6RE56ZDSYA J

    Tayo nga pinaguusapan din nila….

    sa pagkain ng Balut! Famous  kahit sa pumunta. Penoy at Balut = Pinoy

  • Selatan

    Grabe rin sa takaw sa Dolphin Meat and Whale Meat ang mga Hapon.

    Sa igat din sobrang makalamon.

    • delpillar

      Ang medyo matakaw na mga Hapon ay yung mga villages or towns na noong sinaunang panahon pa ng kanilang mga ninuno ay whale hunting na ang trabaho.

      Well known ang bayan ng Taeji (Wakayama Prefecture or province) as depicted sa 2009 documentary film the “THE COVE”.

      Pero ang sabi naman ng mga taga Taeji, bukod sa tradition nila ito for a thousand years ay kapag dumami ang mga dolphin at MINK whales ay thousands of tons of smaller fishes naman ang kakainin ng mga dolphin at mink whales na ito.

      • Selatan

        Thank you very much Ms/Mr. delpillar for the extensive info on bluefin tuna.

  • imongredneck

    Heavily loaded with mercury and radioactive tuna for only $1238.00 per/lb. Anyone???

  • delpillar

    Japanese categorized Tuna for Sushi as A, B, C (or 1st, 2nd, 3rd Class). Atlantic and Pacific Blue fins are usually in the A or B category while the Tuna species caught in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) are categorized in B or C.

    The final factor that will affect the category of the Tuna is on the manner how it was kept in cold storage from the open seas (Atlantic or Pacific or more than 500km away from Japan shore). Optimum cold temperature and almost near-vacuum cold storage is needed when the fish are caught far away.When the tuna are distributed from TSUKIJI Market to nationwide market, cold storage truck forwarders have ISO or similar rating agencies according to the capability to keep the freshness of the tuna meet.

    Those in the Class-A are the one usually sold in BIDDING/AUCTION mode. So it is not unusual for the price to become astronomically high.

    Class-B and Class-C usually end up to Conveyor-belt type sushi restaurant (all the plates with one or two piece sushi are put on the conveyor belt that rotating through or close to the tables so that the customer can just pick whatever they want to eat). The Price of a Class-B tuna meat is still high in international standard. One plate is priced at par with sea-urchin meat. About 400 to 800 yen (250 to 450 pesos)

    Some Class-B and class-C tuna meat end up also in many 100-yen sushi-restaurants (all sushi plates, whatever type of fish meat put on it are all 100yen or about 54pesos)

    Sushi plates ay kasinlaki lang ng platito in the Philippines, which has usually two pieces of sushi.

  • http://joboni96.myopenid.com/ joboni96

    problema dyan
    baka may radiation
    galing sa fukushima

    like eating fugu delicacy
    slowly nga lang

  • manggoding

    Normal na lang sa amin yan. Ang tawag namin Tambakol. Ayaw ngang pulutan ng mga magbabarik dahil nga sa malansa.
    Pero masarap yan lalo na kung pais at nagpapatis.

    On the other hand, yan blue fin tuna ay inubos na ng mga taga General Santos city, kilalang kilala sa paghuli ng tuna na walang pakundangan.
    Endangered specie na nga yan Bariles na yan sa Gen San buti na lang naisalba ni Manny Pacquiao ang ciudad.

    • HATEBIGOT

      There is a moratorium for tuna catching. Please set your facts straight. How in the world did Pacquiao save the city when he is leading Saranggani Province which is NOT General Santos City? Majority of the Catch are Yellow Fin Tuna by the way and nope, Tuna is not from Gensan alone, its in the deeper seas i.e. Celebes or the deep waters in the Indonesian border, way farther than Saranggani Bay where Gensan sits. 

      • delpillar

        Yes, Yellow-fin tuna are primarily found in Indonesia up to the high seas between the country of Palau and Philippine provinces of Surigao and Davao Oriental. The seas surrounding Palau including the portion connecting to the Philippine Sea near Surigao is said to be the place where Pacific Blue Fin go with irregular pattern. Pacific blue fin just come and go to this region but not a usual habitat.

        PACIFIC BLUE FIN tuna is primarily found in the North Pacific, ranging from the East Asian coast to the western coast of North America. It is mainly a pelagic species found in temperate oceans, but it also ranges into the tropics and more coastal regions. It typically occurs from the surface to 200 m (660 ft),but has been recorded as deep as 550 m (1,800 ft).

        It spawns in the northwestern Philippine Sea (e.g., off Honshu, Okinawa and Taiwan) and in the Sea of Japan. A proportion of these migrate to the East Pacific and return to the spawning grounds after a few years. It has been recorded more locally as a visitor to the Southern Hemisphere, including off Australia, New Zealand, Gulf of Papua, PALAU and French Polynesia.

  • Mamang Pulis

    tang na syet …..ilang milyung piso yun!!! kaya na lunurin sa sardinas ang cdo at iligan nyan!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_U7T7BP5KQKFBP7PMJ66OLQ35JA Reggie

    Sus, itatae mo din yan

    • Manuel_II

      pag tatae ka, saluhin mo, milyun yan syang, tapos luto mo ulit, para sulit binayad mo, ampota, LOL, hahahahhahahahaha

  • oracle888

    I think the reason for the exuberant cost of the Tuna is because it was caught in the sea where extremely rare radioactive material was found due to the meltdown of the nuclear power plant damaged by the tsunami in the recent Japanese history.

    I also heard that people buy and eat it because it is an easy way to cut short their suffering on this world and make the trip to other world quicker.

    What is material world after all when one cannot bring anything with him/her when the judgment day come? Each will be judged by how many dark strikes in his/her deeds, and not by how many ounces of gold that one owns during his life time.

  • MarcyPulilan

    Is there an online store I can buy this, my secret client is asking me to buy for her but she cannot leave where she is for some personal reason. She misses her extravagant dinners. Another question, since my client is detained in a government facility (hospital), will this be paid by the government? I need to know kasi if it is paid by the government I will orderr a lot.

  • MarcyPulilan

    Mahal ang uranium na nakain nitong Tuna na ito, kaya iyong sushi may multi million dollar uranium, kaya mahal. Pag takla mo, magagamit mo iyon sa nuclear bomb. Kaya ito mahal binibili ito ng mga arms dealer na nagangailangan ng uranium. Ewan natin baka may plutonium pa ito.

    • Aguimape

      Tama ka jevon sa sinabi mo. Tulad nitong si marcypulilan, mukhang hindi alam difference ng plutonium at uranium.

      • MarcyPulilan

        To Aguimape…Obviously mag kaiba ang Uranium at Plutonium…lahat ng may periodic table alam yan noh!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3F55QQHNLJ6BGBEUBFJQ5CY6MI Jevon

    bat ang daming nagmamagaling dito pilipino talaga

  • oracle888

    Those Filipino drug mules may consider buying and eating those expensive but contaminated tuna meat, then travel to Iran and deposit their bowel there to extract the much needed uranium for nuclear power plant.

    It would be more safely to smuggle without being arrested by the US intelligence agent for the violation of sanction to that Persian nation.

  • manggoding

    Pinupulatan lang namin nong araw yan blue fin tuna na yan.
    May value pala sa Japan, kung alam lang namin sana naebenta sa mga hapon.
    Pero ngayon nga ay ubos na rin dahil yan mga taga Gen San ang lakas manghuli ng tuna yellow or blue fin, halos wala ng natira.
    Kaya ngayon tulingan na lang ang aming pinupulutan, galunggong nga ubos na rin.
    Sana iban muna ang paghuli ng tambakol o bariles para dumami ulit.

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