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$400K Bluefin Tuna Breaks Sales Record

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January 06, 2011

$400K Bluefin Tuna Breaks Sales Record

By Joe Cermele

Hey, have you heard this one? Guy walks into a Japanese fish market and says, "I got a 754-pound bluefin tuna out here. What's it worth?" The fish market proprietor says, "Gee, there are hardly any wild bluefin that big left in the world. How about $400,000?" This is precisely what happened yesterday at Japan's Tsukiji Fish Market.

Do the math and this bluefin priced out at about $530 a pound, making it the most expensive tuna ever sold at auction. For some perspective, it's worth exactly as much as a 2010 Lamborghini Murcielago. Prior to this catch, the most expensive tuna ever bought was back in 2001, and it brought in roughly $240,000.

OK, a single fish worth $400K is impressive. But ultimately I find it pretty sad. It's just a fish, not a dune buggy signed by the members of Def Leppard. That much money could feed a lot of people for a long time. This bluefin will be consumed by relatively few, and relatively quickly at that in a handful of restaurants. Everyone loves to eat tuna, but according to this article from Time, Japan consumes 80% of the dwindling bluefins that come to market. They are sushi fiends!

To invent something like sushi, you must have been adventurous at some point. I mean somebody was the first to try raw cuddlefish and salmon eggs. So Japan, why not keep up that creativity? Perhaps we can interest you in some snakeheads or Asian carp. How do you know they wouldn't be the best things for the sushi market since, well, bluefin tuna? We'll cut you a super-sweet deal on shipping, and even throw in some zebra mussels.

Comments (17)

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from Dcast wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Just watched a show the other week about the bluefin market and fishing and how they are extremely over harvested. In the show they said the sushi is cut from the belly meat and that is what they are really buying the fish for and the rest is used for lower grade sushi that is 1/16th of the price of the belly meat so your $530 pound goes way up. I think if I ever come across some money I will buy me a fishing boat and move to Japan for a little while to get rich!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

The japanese need to learn to manage the resource better.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from mkwizeman wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Boy am I torn here. I love me some sushi but it’s a shame to see such an amazing fish (and an amazing species) go down this way. Several months ago nations around the world tried to step in and put the brakes on the harvest rates of Bluefin, but Japan obviously was having none of it. As much as I love tuna I try to avoid it when I order sushi, but in reality what we are consuming in the U.S. is a drop in the bucket compared to Japan. I guess every little bit counts though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob81 wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

This is an example of when allowing normal market forces to fix a problem just doesn't work. The Japanese will continue to pay ever escalating prices for this fish until they are wiped from the face of the planet.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from USCG_Honor_Guard wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

You might be on to something. Turning all our invasive species into delicacies and ship them all around the world to fine restaurants. "Cream of Zebra Mussel Soup"??? "Asian Carp Gumbo"??? "Big Head Carp Tartare"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

I've heard snakeheads are good to eat.....I just have to wait for them to migrate to Colorado to try one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Careful what you wish for, Koldcut.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from REKER wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

I think this was the same fish that was on the show I watched last weekend. I couldnt beleive the prices some tuna was selling for. Also part of the show touched on the conservation of the species and how Japan plans to go about regulating the harvesting laws. I hope its for the better.

Mkwizeman, actually, most of the tuna we eat here in the US are yellowfin tuna.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

like.....O....M....G......Yeah, I don't want snakeheads here, and I would have preferred to find out that they taste good from folks who live in their native range instead of a TV program that advocated eating them to thin numbers. We have a hard enough time dealing with Zebra mussels in Colorado and it's stunk up our boating access to lakes because of it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ted Arneson wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Actually not so far-fetched. Apparently we are already selling Asian Carp back to Asia as a delicacy - the article's at http://therockyriver.com/kill-two-asian-carp-with-one-stone/

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmasterking wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Well, I can tell you this. I hate the commercial tuna fisherman. They go to an area and wipe out it's resources. They are completely unethical and when I went to Costa Rica I saw the destruction they cause first-hand. They literally pack heat in the boats because they are at war with the commercial fisherman. When they pass a long line they drop down razors attached to anchors. As far as an expensive fish goes...I wouldn't ever pay that much money for one but I can see why someone would pay close to that if they had that much money.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

The Japanese don't sem to be team players when it comes to natural resources. The blue fin is a good example and so is their harvest of whales. I think it will be a sad day when the bluefin is gone.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Capt. Eric wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

HEY, That was my fish!!! I had the tail clipped and some guy stole it from me on the party boat! Didn't even tip the mate!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

and the japanese will be the first to complain when the resoure is gone. pretty sad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from footbasebl wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

The sad part is the more they demolish this species, the more one fish will be worth. Which is not helping the situation. There have got to be some limits on commercial fishing. We have so many limits and rules that go along with hunting and fishing (which is how it should be), you would think they could do the same with commercial fishing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

At that price, no wonder they're overfished.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ricefarm wrote 3 years 13 weeks ago

A few months ago the governor of Illinois (not Blago, he was long gone at this point) shipped a load of Asian Carp to Japan in the hopes of creatinga market. Haven't heard anything about it since.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from mad_dog9999 wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

The japanese need to learn to manage the resource better.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob81 wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

This is an example of when allowing normal market forces to fix a problem just doesn't work. The Japanese will continue to pay ever escalating prices for this fish until they are wiped from the face of the planet.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from USCG_Honor_Guard wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

You might be on to something. Turning all our invasive species into delicacies and ship them all around the world to fine restaurants. "Cream of Zebra Mussel Soup"??? "Asian Carp Gumbo"??? "Big Head Carp Tartare"

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Joe_Cermele wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Careful what you wish for, Koldcut.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

The Japanese don't sem to be team players when it comes to natural resources. The blue fin is a good example and so is their harvest of whales. I think it will be a sad day when the bluefin is gone.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dcast wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Just watched a show the other week about the bluefin market and fishing and how they are extremely over harvested. In the show they said the sushi is cut from the belly meat and that is what they are really buying the fish for and the rest is used for lower grade sushi that is 1/16th of the price of the belly meat so your $530 pound goes way up. I think if I ever come across some money I will buy me a fishing boat and move to Japan for a little while to get rich!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from mkwizeman wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Boy am I torn here. I love me some sushi but it’s a shame to see such an amazing fish (and an amazing species) go down this way. Several months ago nations around the world tried to step in and put the brakes on the harvest rates of Bluefin, but Japan obviously was having none of it. As much as I love tuna I try to avoid it when I order sushi, but in reality what we are consuming in the U.S. is a drop in the bucket compared to Japan. I guess every little bit counts though.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

I've heard snakeheads are good to eat.....I just have to wait for them to migrate to Colorado to try one.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from REKER wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

I think this was the same fish that was on the show I watched last weekend. I couldnt beleive the prices some tuna was selling for. Also part of the show touched on the conservation of the species and how Japan plans to go about regulating the harvesting laws. I hope its for the better.

Mkwizeman, actually, most of the tuna we eat here in the US are yellowfin tuna.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Koldkut wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

like.....O....M....G......Yeah, I don't want snakeheads here, and I would have preferred to find out that they taste good from folks who live in their native range instead of a TV program that advocated eating them to thin numbers. We have a hard enough time dealing with Zebra mussels in Colorado and it's stunk up our boating access to lakes because of it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ted Arneson wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Actually not so far-fetched. Apparently we are already selling Asian Carp back to Asia as a delicacy - the article's at http://therockyriver.com/kill-two-asian-carp-with-one-stone/

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bassmasterking wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

Well, I can tell you this. I hate the commercial tuna fisherman. They go to an area and wipe out it's resources. They are completely unethical and when I went to Costa Rica I saw the destruction they cause first-hand. They literally pack heat in the boats because they are at war with the commercial fisherman. When they pass a long line they drop down razors attached to anchors. As far as an expensive fish goes...I wouldn't ever pay that much money for one but I can see why someone would pay close to that if they had that much money.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Capt. Eric wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

HEY, That was my fish!!! I had the tail clipped and some guy stole it from me on the party boat! Didn't even tip the mate!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jamesti wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

and the japanese will be the first to complain when the resoure is gone. pretty sad.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from footbasebl wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

The sad part is the more they demolish this species, the more one fish will be worth. Which is not helping the situation. There have got to be some limits on commercial fishing. We have so many limits and rules that go along with hunting and fishing (which is how it should be), you would think they could do the same with commercial fishing

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from steve182 wrote 3 years 14 weeks ago

At that price, no wonder they're overfished.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ricefarm wrote 3 years 13 weeks ago

A few months ago the governor of Illinois (not Blago, he was long gone at this point) shipped a load of Asian Carp to Japan in the hopes of creatinga market. Haven't heard anything about it since.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment