Record price paid for massive tuna
Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, cuts into his prize purchase at his main restaurant near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market on Thursday.
January 5th, 2012
07:11 AM ET

Record price paid for massive tuna

Fancy a $50 piece of sushi?

That's what one piece of a 593-pound blue fin tuna sold Thursday at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market for a record $736,000 is worth.

Kiyoshi Kimura, who runs the Sushi-Zanmai chain in Japan, bought the record-setting fish at the first auction of the new year at Japan's main fish market, a popular tourist stop in Tokyo, according to the Tokyo Times.

The previous record for a fish was set at the market in 2011's first sale of the new year, when a Hong Kong restauranteur paid $422,000 for a blue fin. He took that fish to Hong Kong.

Kimura said he wanted to keep this year's top tuna in Japan. It was caught off Amori prefecture.

"We tried very hard to win the bidding, so that we could give Japan a boost and have Japanese people eat the most delicious tuna," the Mainichi Daily News quoted him as saying.

Despite the record price Kimura paid, pieces of the prize fish are expected to sell for around $5 in his restaurants.

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Filed under: Animals • Aquaculture • Fish • Food • Japan
soundoff (162 Responses)
  1. bubba

    Time to buy a fishing pole....."teach a man to fish"

    January 5, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. Foodie

    Oh good – the asians are back to fishing blue fin in to extinction. Pretty soon we'll see infant girl meat show up on their menus

    January 5, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Vorsanss

      Its Because they did not get the quota for Wales last year. LOL

      January 5, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Malkntnt

      Oh hyperbole how you have so infested the population.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • joe

      I'm sorry, but how many animals have Caucasians brought to extinction?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      shhh joe, this is the 'belittle other cultures hour,' not the 'self-awareness hour.'

      January 5, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. Rooney Ain't Tuna

    If you were canned tuna, your post would have more grammatical errors. Thanks for clarifying.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Chris

    It's Aomori Prefecture, not Amori.... yet another example of quality CNN editing.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Actually, it's neither. The characters don't translate directly. Kind of like Ghaddafi, or Kaddhafi, or Ka-daffy.
      Furthermore, NO ONE CARES.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Actually, it is pronounced Aomori (ah-oh-moe-ri), not Amori (ah-morie)... and you cared enough to post.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      I cared enough to try and keep you from demonstrating an ample supply of useless knowledge. Never mind, carry on with your nattering...

      January 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TheHalfBakedLunatic

    As much as I love sushi, the Blue Fin Tuna is one of the most over-fished species and really is on the verge of extinction. As Spock said in The Voyage Home: "To hunt a species to extinction is not logical."

    January 5, 2012 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    That's not rooney.
    That's a troll.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Vorsanss

    This is just assuming he will only make his money back and no profit.

    I just want to know how long its going to take him to sell 147,200 slices of sushi grade tuna. ($736,000.00 / $5.00)

    If you take a look at the size of each slice we can assume that 593 lbs / 147,200 slices comes to .0040285 lbs per slice or .06 oz. Is that size justified at $5???

    January 5, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Vorsanss

      Just had to add this pun to my comment. Something seems Fishy. LOL

      January 5, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • irish man

      obviously not...You clearly dont understand the restaurant business...When it comes to restaurants, its all about perception ESPECIALLY for high end establishments..This purchase has secured the name of his establishment and associated it to a extremely high quality product but for reasonable price.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Vorsanss

      My argument was with the article writer not the restaurant. At the end it was stated that he may sell them for around $5.00 a slice. I was assuming it was a typo or the wrong number being reported. And i know my Nigiri, Maki, and Sashimi. Uni for the win.

      January 5, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • HA25

      thinking "loss leader" he may lose a few bucks on each slice and sell for less than actual cost. But make it up on the other items and on the free marketing.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Roca

    Overpriced and Overfished–what a waste of resources!

    January 5, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. MrRightWing

    I would be worried about the waters it came out of considering the meltdown, and that they used ocean water that they returned back into the sea.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  10. Malkntnt

    It would have been funnier if at the end of the article it said – "...are expected to sell for around five dollar..."

    January 5, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
    • reeree

      five dolla only...

      January 5, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. DT

    Ok. Of the 593lb tuna only 60% is edible. Roughly 350lbs. That's around $2,000 a pound. If the sushi consisted of 1/4oz. of meat, the owner would have over $30 invested per piece. At $50 he could make $230,000. At $5 he will have blown over $600,000 out the window. just saying.

    January 5, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Blahman

      Yes, but he saved a lot of money in advertising.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. harrison

    The largest bluefin tuna ever caught weighed almost 1500 pounds. This was just a puppy, goes to show how overfished this fish is that it can get that sort of price.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyon

      Why can't we just start cloning the little buggers and collecting a gene pool of the fish now so we can revive them later

      January 5, 2012 at 11:33 am | Report abuse |
    • truth

      That fish weight of that fish whole is probally close to 800 whole. The 593 is head of gutted. The us does a great job policing these fish, its the european countries that need to tighten up there regs!

      January 5, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Brian Casey

      You are absolutely right. If you ever travel to Nova Scotia in the Aulds Cove area, right before you enter Cape Breton Island there is the Aulds Cove Motel. They have pictures of Bluefin Tuna that average 1000 # from fishing terniments from the 50s on. Now they average 150 #.

      January 5, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rcfisherman

    Bluefin are estimate to have only 9000 left. WHY do they keep killing them. They dont reproduce until there are over 100lbs. The REASON THEY ARE SO EXPENSIVE IS BECAUSE THEY ARE RARE!. Hey how about a baby seal sushi or maybe White rhino? If there was one left they would still eat it.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Chase

      Or maybe because white rhino and baby seal sound like terrible things to eat? Implying that we eat things soley on the basis of how rare they are is foolish. I can't think of anything that sounds more gamey and unappetizing than rhino. Dunce.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      you're the dunce if you don't get the point Rcfisherman is trying to make!

      January 5, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • lordpet

      The point is that tuna are rare because we overfish them, idiot. They need to be left alone until the population can rebuild, or there'll be none left at any price.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • HA25

      rcfisherman should know better. This fish is large, and commanded a large price but tuna is sold by grade (quality) so the thing here is this was very high grade, times 593 lbs got to a large amount.
      Larger fish sell for less money – the fish is graded at the dock.

      January 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rcfisherman

      HA25 & Chase you just dont get it.
      Chase if you think I really mean to eat white rhino I dont see any point in trying to explain.

      HA25 your incorrect in your statement about larger fish being cheaper. Bluefin tuna add on fat as they get larger. It is the fat content and marbling that is graded. The biggest fish have the highest fat. THAT IS WHY IT IS SO MUCH $$$$.

      January 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • ADiff

      Your facts aren't. Over 29,000 TONS of Pacific Bluefin were harvested last year alone.... There are far, far more than "9000" left. If there were only 9000 I doubt anyone would be fishing for them commercially, since you'd catch one so rarely it would be completely uneconomic. In fact the Bluefin isn't in danger of extinction....it's just that it's over-harvested in some areas (not so much the Northern Pacific, like this one) threatening potential commercial surplus collapse, ending not the species, but our ability to economically harvest it commercially. This isn't a whale or a bear...it's a fish and it's reproductive potential is HUGE. Tuna isn't a survival issue...it's a COMMERCIAL HARVESTING management issue.....

      January 5, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ADiff

      By all accounts baby seal's delicious. I'd eat it. That's for sure. And if it weren't endangered, I'd eat Rhino, too...although I'm doubtful as to it's desirability......

      January 5, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rcfisherman

      ADiff you are correct in you numbers. The harvest was of small to medium sized fish. The problem is that only the largest Bluefin tuna spawn. There are conservative estimates of 9000 Giant Bluefin. These are the breeders. The vast majority of the harvest are young fish. Now imagine if all the children are taken. They try and say they are farming bluefin now but all they are really doing is catching them younger and growing them in a pen. They are not adding to the biomass. At some point there will be no more to replace the adults. In the end you CAN NOT ARGUE WITH THE PRICE. It is supply and demand . the supply is far below the demand. There isnt enough to go around. Thirty years ago Giant Bluefin were caught for sport out of Cape Cod. Now there are none to catch. They are gone. Seeing one or two a year on the Cape for the last decade. As any of shore fishermen that has been around for 25 years and he will tell you the population has be cut to the point of extinction.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rcfisherman

      ADIFF by the way I would go for the Rhino. I think the seal would taste to much like mackerel. To fishy for me.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jaymay

    If you look closely at the bottom of the pic it is more obvious that that is the corpse of a living, sentient being and they are cutting up and planning on eating the muscles and tissues of this murdered magnificent being as it rots. Utterly disgusting and abhorrent!

    January 5, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • allanhowls

      And also the entire reason you're living and breathing today.
      Nature eats meat, and doesn't care if you think it's icky. If you have a problem with eating meat (and no, it's not living, much less sentient...it's a dead fish), take it up with the sharks. I'm sure they'd love to hear your ethical complaints.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Just like what happens at burger chains every day. Watch out for your next step – you're killing thousands of living, sentient micro-organisms with the crushing weight of your foot. How shall we escape the horror? What disturbs me is that people can get so upset about a dead animal, and then actually defend a woman's "right" to kill her own living baby in her womb. When is it OK to kill an unborn baby?

      January 5, 2012 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
    • ibar

      your retarded...

      January 5, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Bates

      So you are one of those people who eats twigs and grass aren't you? I'm sure you are unhealthy compared to most people because you fail to realize that your body needs meat. Protein is vital to humans, and while you can come across it other non-meat foods, eating meat and fish is the single easiest way to get your body the proper protein and fat content it needs.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Harry

      Pass the soy sauce please!

      January 5, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • john

      @ibar – you call jaymay "retarded" and you misspell "you're" w/ "your"....nice move idiot!

      January 5, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Dark Matter is not too bright

      What makes you think that the fish is sentient. do you know what sentient mean?

      The fish’s brain is not highly developed. There is no cerebral cortex (the part of the brain in higher animals that stores impressions), and so the fish has little or no memory. It is not uncommon, for example, for an angler to hook the same fish twice within a short time. Fish are essentially creatures of reflex, rather than of action produced or developed by using the brain. In all probability, physical pain in fish is not very acute, and if any impression of pain is made in the brain, it is quickly lost.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
    • robert

      HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT TO THE STEAK AND FRIED CHICKEN YOU EAT EVERY DAY. IT SOUNDS YOU ARE JUST CULTURALLY INSENSITIVE AND BIASED. YOU ARE THE KIND THAT DON'T WANT TO BE SERVED FISH WITH THE HEAD IN A RESTAURANT SO YOU ARE NOT REMINDED THAT YOU ARE EATING AN ANIMAL. TYPICAL AMERICAN.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • UncleDad

      I love all animals...they're delicious.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Marty in MA

    The high price is not due to its weight, but the fat content of the fish.
    I do not eat raw fish

    January 5, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
    • SpawnOfCheese

      raw fish is where its at! Especially tuna <3 Ive only ever eaten yellow fin, though.

      January 5, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Slick

      Price is actually due to a bidding war, not the weight or quality of the fish.

      January 5, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
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