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Man Buys Fish for $3.1M, Expresses Some Regret

For Kiyoshi Kimura, it's good publicity
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 5, 2019 6:30 PM CST
Kiyoshi Kimura, center, president of Kiyomura Co., poses with the bluefin tuna he bought at the annual New Year auction, at his Sushi Zanmai restaurant near Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

(Newser) – At $3.1 million it's kinda pricey—but hey, it's bluefin tuna. The owner of a Japanese sushi chain made history Saturday by dishing out the highest-ever sum for a single fish at the new year's auction of a Tokyo fish market, CNBC reports. "I bought a good tuna," Kiyoshi Kimura told the Japan Times after buying the 613-pound fish at the new Toyosu market, but... "I think I did too much. I expected it would be between 30 million and 50 million yen, or 60 million yen at the highest, but it ended up five times more." Higher than originally thought, indeed: Paying roughly $5,000 a pound when the highest rate is usually $40 a pound is a bit of a markup, notes the AP. But the Atlantic reported in 2014 that it's great publicity to win the first tuna auction of the year.

"It is considered an honor to buy the first bluefin of the new years, and bidding wars reflect this fight for status," food blogger Andrew David Thaler told the magazine. "... As many auction-goers know, landing a high, early win is a way of marking your territory and letting your competitors know that you have the bankroll to push them out of a bidding war." Kimura has paid record prices before, when auctions were held at the now-closed Tsukiji fish market. But all the hoopla disguises the fact that bluefin is facing extinction. Japan and other nations have agreed they'll try to save the bluefin, but Phys.org noted last year that the US rejected a plan to reclassify the species as endangered. (Meanwhile, salamanders may hinder a $1.4 billion dam project.)

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