Published: Sat, January 05, 2019
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Giant tuna fetches record $3.1 million in auction at Japan´s new market

Giant tuna fetches record $3.1 million in auction at Japan´s new market

"The tuna looks so tasty and very fresh, but I think I did too much", Kimura later told reporters.

Kiyoshi Kimura often pays over the odds for his beloved and endangered fish, and it was no different at Tokyo's new fish market for the first auction of 2019.

This purchase more than doubles the last record he set of $1.76 million for a slightly smaller fish in 2013.

Kimura has been a frequent visitor to the markets and for the past few years has been the victor of the annual auction.

This depletion could be one of the reasons the price of the tuna has gone up significantly - in previous years the fish has sold for £31 ($40) per pound, but this year's prices soared above £157 ($200) a pound.

"The price was higher than originally thought, but I hope our customers will eat this excellent tuna".

Japan is the biggest consumer of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna and the national and global demand for the fish has lead to overfishing of the species.

Surging consumption of the Pacific bluefin tuna in Japan and overseas has led experts to warn it faces possible extinction, with stocks depleting by 96 percent from pre-industrial levels.

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The relocation was delayed by nearly two years as Tokyo had to deal with soil and air contamination and other issues at Toyosu, which formerly housed a gas production plant.

However, Japan and other governments are backing plans to rebuild stocks back to 20% by 2034.

Tsukiji was one of Japan's top tourist attractions and was used by top sushi chefs and ordinary grocery stores alike.

The new market at Toyosu has already opened a balcony allowing visitors to witness the organised pre-dawn chaos in an attempt to attract tourists who previously visited Tsukiji.

"Finally, the first New Year auction was held at Toyosu market", said Yoshihiko Otaki, a market official.

In contrast, the new market, located around two kilometres to the east at Toyosu, boasts state-of-the-art refrigeration facilities and is almost twice as big as Tsukiji.

Tsukiji is due to be redeveloped, though for now it's being turned into a parking lot for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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