The 539 pound bluefin tuna was the first item for auction at Thursday's Tokyo Tsukji fish market and was picked up by Kiyoshi Kimura, the president of a sushi restaurant. The price nearly doubled last year's record of over $400,000, which was bid on by a Hong Kong man. The tuna was caught off the eastern shore of the country, which was completely devastated by last year's record breaking earthquake. This high price auction shows promise for the country's shaky economy, which like the rest of the country, is still slowly rebuilding.
So why such a high price tag for a piece of fish? Trevor Carson, author of The Secret Life of Lobsters, The Story of Sushi, believes the price has little to do with actual product and more to do with marketing, advertising and a celebration of profits. In addition to raising the publicity of one sushi restaurant and the country's fishing industry as a whole, the bluefin tuna also fetches a pretty penny due to a high demand for it. Although the bluefin tuna is not an endangered species, it is facing possible extinction due to overfishing and habitat degradation.
Regardless of the purpose for the purchase, Kimura has quite a few spicy tuna rolls in his future.
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