Japan sushi tycoon pays record $3.1m for endangered bluefin tuna

Tokyo: A Japanese sushi boss on Saturday paid a record $3.1 million for a giant bluefin tuna at the first New Year’s auction in Tokyo’s new fish market.

Self-styled “Tuna King” Kiyoshi Kimura, President of Japanese sushi chain Sushi-Zanmai, bought the 278 kg fish by spending more than twice the previous record of $1.4 million, which he paid in 2013, the BBC reported.

The bluefin, the largest tuna, is an endangered species that can live up to 40 years, according to the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. The fish was caught in the northern Japanese prefecture of Aomori.

Wholesalers and sushi company owners often pay high prices for the best fish at the first pre-dawn auction of the New Year.

Kimura has been the highest bidder at the auction for seven of the past eight years.

The 2019 auction was the first New Year sale to take place at the new fish market on the site of a former gas plant in Toyosu, which opened in October.

The previous site at Tsukiji opened in 1935 and became the world’s biggest fish market and a popular tourist attraction.

However, issues including concerns about outdated fire regulations and hygiene controls prompted the market to be moved to a larger and more modern site.