Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of Kiyomura Company and sushi mogul, won a gigantic Bluefin tuna from an annual auction held by Tsukiji fish market amounting to 467 pounds. Kimura had to pay a whopping 74.2 million yen or about $642,000 for the fish, the Huffington Post reports.
His bid would later set a record to become the second highest ever at Tsukiji’s festival, which is extensively celebrated every year in Tokyo.
The outrageous amount of money people bid during the Tsukiji festival has not only been a tradition but it also serves as a really effective tool to increase and garner huge publicity for the event.
The top bid ever recorded was made in 2013, amounting to $1.8 million for a 489-pound Bluefin tuna. That bid was also made by Kimura himself. According to a BBC report, Kimura confessed that although he personally thought that the $1.8 million price was “a bit high,” he hoped that the whole thing would somehow “encourage Japan” in any kind of way.
It did encourage the country to consume more tuna, who eats 80 percent of the Bluefin caught in the entire world.
It also encouraged environmentalists to further campaign for the preservation of the Bluefin tuna, who’s currently at endangered status. A recent assessment declared that Pacific Bluefin tuna has little to no chance of recuperating from the continuous decline of the species.
Conservationists are also concerned about the fact that these auctions could even worsen the current situation of Bluefin tuna.
Lee Crocket, director for Pew Environment Group, told NPR last 2012, “We have a pretty significant overfishing problem with Bluefin tuna. When you sell fish for this amount of money, that exacerbates those problems.”
Crocket continued, “You can bet fishermen all over the world are going to say, ‘Boy, I’d like to sell fish for that amount of money.’”
The Tokyo government, on the other hand, are planning to relocate the setting of the Tsukiji market, which was at a top real estate on Tokyo Bay, to a reclaimed island called Toyosu, Reuters reports.
The plan was formed 15 years ago, but the government has a strong and resilient opponent in the form of environment groups. The delay, however, are putting Japanese fishermen at confusion.
Nobuyuki Aoki, a seafood wholesaler, said, "I hope that this new year will bring clarity to the new venue's safety, and remove us from the uncertainty."