Kiyoshi Kimura, the owner of a Japanese sushi restaurant chain, set a disgraceful record on Saturday by purchasing a endangered bluefin tuna for $3.1 million in the years first auction at Tokyo’s fish market. The previous record price was set in 2013 and was half the price paid for this time.
The 613 pound blue fin tuna was caught off the coast of northern Japan’s Aomori prefecture.
Saturday’s event was the first New Year auction of the Toyosu market, after the famed Tsukiji fish market shut last year to provide temporary parking for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics.
After the auction, the fish was taken to one of Sushizanmai’s branches located in the old market of Tsukiji.
Tuna is prized around the world for its use in sushi, but the demand is driving the species to the point of extinction. The species has seen catastrophic decline of 96% in stocks in the Northern Pacific Ocean.
Just as concerning is that about 90% of tuna caught are young fish that have net yet reproduced meaning that nine out of 10 fish may have been the last generation of the bluefin tuna due to not being able to even have an opportunity to reproduce.
Currently, bluefin tuna only make up for 1% of the tuna caught worldwide which is a stark difference to years ago where the fish was one of the most common. For years, blue fin tuna were lumped together with all other fish and were neglected in fisheries management.
If current trends continue, the species will soon be functionally extinct in the Pacific. Drastic measures will need to be taken to see the survival of the Pacific blue fin tuna and with countries like Japan actively seeking to catch and kill the magnificent creatures, the future looks very dim.