Tuna sold for post pandemic record of £620,000

The chef cut up a big Tuna fish in the restaurant

If you think the price of your tuna sandwich is too much, spare a thought for the buyers on Tokyo fish market earlier this week.

They paid a post pandemic record 114.2 million yen – around £620,000 – for a 238 kilogram bluefish tuna at a New Year auction. It is the highest figure since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

News site Bloomberg reported that the giant fish was bought by the Japanese seafood wholesaler Yamayuki together with the sushi chain Onodera Group. In this case it was a wild caught fish, but tuna is increasingly a farmed species and the record price will be welcomed by the tuna aquaculture sector (the fish pictured is a regular-sized tuna).

The Yamayuki CEO Yukitaka Yamaguchi told the Japanese news agency Kyodo: “I have felt that the economy is improving, so I thought that the bidding round would reach 100 million yen.”

Apparently, the tuna’s freshness and colour were main reasons why it made so much money.

“We are thankful to the fishermen who braved the cold to catch it,” he added.

Referring to the devastating earthquake that struck central Japan on New Year’s Day, he said, “We had mixed feelings about whether we should refrain from participating, but we decided to go for it in the belief that we also need positive news.”

Tuna traditionally make big money in Japan and they often hit near record levels around the New Year holiday.

But prior to Covid, tuna was making even bigger money. In 2019, sushi magnate Kiyoshi Kimura paid ¥333.6 million (£1.8 million) for a 278-kilogram fish – the highest price paid at the New Year’s auction since the Japanese government began keeping records of sales in 1999.

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