On Saturday morning around 5 a.m., a 222-kilogram bluefin tuna was sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market for an all-time high of 155.4 million yen, or 1.8 million dollars, at the annual new year auction, Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported. That equals $8,000 per kilo of tuna, making the marbled, richly-flavoured tuna roughly eight times more expensive than silver.
“The price was a bit high,” the winning bidder Kiyoshi Kimura told the Kyodo News Agency. “But I hope we can encourage Japan by providing good tuna.” He operates the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain, which claims to be Japan’s first 24-hour, 365-days-a-year sushi bar.
Kimura said he planned to offer the fish to his customers on Saturday evening. Tiny sushi slices of the prized fish can sell for up to $24, according to the Associated Press. Japanese consume up to 80% of the world’s declining tuna stock. Ever higher prices cause alarm among environmentalists fearing further depletion.
This year’s price dwarfs last year’s record price of $646,000.