Business

Sushi chain pays record $3,599 per pound for bluefin tuna

Sensible business strategy wasn’t really top of mind for Tokyo sushi chain Kiyomura K.K. when it shelled out $1.76 million this weekend for a single 489-pound bluefin tuna.

The company dropped a record 155.4 million yen for the honor of buying the first fish up for auction at the famed Japanese seafood mart Tsukiji Market.

The Saturday bid was nearly three times the 56.49 million yen high set by Kiyomura last year, according to market data. The chain snatched the record set in 2011 by a Hong Kong bidder.

The company will serve the fish at regular prices of 128 to 398 yen – or $1.47 to $4.56 – per piece at its Sushi Zanmai restaurants, according to the Japan Times.

Stocks of bluefin tuna have plunged in oceans worldwide. Environmentalists often accuse the uber-competitive auction of encouraging a culture overfishing to satiate demand for the fish.

Bluefin is the most valuable fish in the world, popular for its fatty belly meat, according to advocacy group Oceana. Western Atlantic bluefin tuna populations have fallen more than 82%, according to the group.

As few as 25,000 individual mature Bluefin tuna remain, according to the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas.

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