News from The Associated Press

By | January 5, 2009

News from The Associated Press

Two sushi bar owners paid more than $100,000 for a Japanese bluefin tuna at a Tokyo fish auction Monday, several times the average price and the highest in nearly a decade, market officials said.

The 282-pound (128-kilogram) premium tuna caught off the northern coast of Oma fetched 9.63 million yen ($104,700), the highest since 2001, when another Japanese bluefin tuna brought an all-time record of 20 million yen, market official Takashi Yoshida said.

Yoshida said the extravagant purchase – about $370 per pound ($817 per kilogram) – went to a Hong Kong sushi bar owner and his Japanese competitor who reached a peaceful settlement to share the big fish. The Hong Kong buyer also paid the highest price at last year’s new year event at Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, the world’s largest fish seller, which holds near-daily auctions.

A slightly bigger imported bluefin caught off the eastern United States sold for 1.42 million yen ($15,400) in Monday’s auction.

“It was the best tuna of the day, but the price shot up because of the shortage of domestic bluefin,” Yoshida said, citing rough weather at the end of December. Buyers vied for only three Oma bluefin tuna Monday, compared to 41 last year.

… Due to growing concerns over the impact of commercial fishing on the bluefin variety’s survival, members of international tuna conservation organizations, including Japan, have agreed to cut their bluefin catch quota for 2009 by 20 percent to 22,000 tons.

via News from The Associated Press.

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