TOKYO, 5 January 2017 (NBC News) – A sushi chain boss paid $632,000 for a 466-pound bluefin tuna at auction on Thursday.
The 74.2 million yen winning bid for the prized but imperiled species was the second highest ever after a record 155.4 million yen bid in 2013 at the annual New Year auction at the famed Tsukiji market.
Kiyomura Corp. owner Kiyoshi Kimura posed, beaming, with the gleaming, man-sized fish, which was caught off the coast of northern Japan's Aomori prefecture.
His company, which runs the Sushi Zanmai chain, often wins the auction. This year's purchase works out to $1,356 per pound.
Japanese are the biggest consumers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption of sushi has boosted demand, as experts warn the species could go extinct.
A report by the International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-like Species in the North Pacific Ocean last year put the population of bluefin tuna at 2.6 percent of its "unfished" size, down from an earlier assessment of 4.2 percent. [more]