A single tuna sold for 6.38 million yen Sunday at the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.

The price was up from last year’s 2.8 million yen, but far lower than the record 20.2 million yen from 2001.

The prize fish, a 228 kg blue fin tuna, was caught off Oma, Aomori Prefecture. It was one of 3,600 tunas lying on the wet auction floor at the world’s biggest wholesale fish market, run by Tsukiji Uoichiba Co.

“Given the bad economy, there was no customary celebration market (of bidding at extraordinary high prices),” said one middleman.

The auction kicked off shortly before 5 a.m. after market officials conveyed their New Year’s greetings in a ceremony under a banner that read “Congratulations for the Year’s First Cargo Arrivals.”

“The environment is becoming increasingly severe under deflation,” one official said. “Let’s start by cheering.”

The tunas came not only from Japanese waters but also from other areas, including Indonesia, the Maldives and Turkey.

One big tuna can supply enough sushi or sashimi for up to 6,000 people.

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