Record £257,000 paid for single bluefin –

Record £257,000 paid for single bluefin Published:  06 January, 2011

ANY hopes of international agreement on saving the blue fin tuna collapsed in Tokyo yesterday when one of the fish sold for a record £257,000 (32 million yen).

The endangered fish is in massive demand in sushi-mad Japan which has so far thwarted all attempts to restrict fishing for the species.

The first New Year auction at Tokyo’s Tsukji Fish Market is generally a time for celebration and record prices are often paid for blue fin, but nothing as high as a quarter of a million pounds for a single fish – until yesterday. It is the largest sum ever paid for a blue fin – or any other single variety of fish.

Bidding started briskly when the opening bell on the Tokyo fish market was rung just before. The bluefin’s record sale  also reflects increasing demand across Asia for high-quality tuna meat, especially in Japan and in China’s growing market.

More than 500 fish were laid out before buyers and it is thought that the prized blue fin was bought by a joint Chinese and Japanese sushi restaurant bid. Traders say that the growing taste for sushi among China’s wealthy middle classes is also helping to push up prices.

However, environmental groups say that the blue fin is in serious danger of being fished out and last year attempts to get international agreement met with mixed and, for many, not very satisfactory results. In June the European Commission closed down the blue fin season early and some countries brought in controls , but others  like Japan and Australia have so far rejected fishing restrictions.