Sushi chain operator Kiyoshi Kimura netted a real bargain Sunday, taking home a 230-kg bluefin tuna for a mere ¥7.36 million, a fraction of the price he paid last year during the year’s first auction at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.
The auction attracts high bids as a celebratory way to launch the new year, but Kimura’s winning bid last year of ¥155.4 million for a 222-kg fish drew complaints that prices were way out of line.
“I’m glad that the congratulatory price for this year’s bid went back to being reasonable,” said Kimura, whose Kiyomura Co. operates the popular Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain.
Environmentalists say growing consumption of bluefin tuna is leading to its depletion. Japanese eat about 80 percent of all bluefin caught worldwide.
There were 1,729 tuna sold in Sunday’s auction, city data said, down from 2,419 last year.