Sushi tycoon buys endangered tuna at whopping £2.5 mn; conservationists displeased
Tokyo, Jan 6: In the first auction of 2019 in Japan's new fish market in Tokyo recently, an endangered bluefin tuna weighing 278 kilograms was sold for a whopping £2.5 million (Rs 22.1 crore). The buyer of the fish was sushi tycoon Kiyoshi Kimura who owns the Kiyomura Corp. and runs a very popular fast food and sushi chain in the island nation. Kimura is a regular visitor to several fish markets in Tokyo and has also won the annual auction for many years.
As per a report in Guardian, Japan has seen an alarming 96 per cent depletion in its bluefin tuna though it continues to be one of the biggest consumers of the endangered species. The price of bluefin tuna has increased because of its dwindling numbers. From £31 per pound in previous years, the fish's price has leaped to £157 a pound now.
"The quality of the tuna I bought is the best," Kimura was quoted as saying by Japanese broadcaster NHK.
However, though the business instincts were satisfied, Jamie Gibbon, an official of the global tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts, expressed concern over such auctions.
"The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin auction hides how deeply in trouble this species really is," he was quoted as saying by Guardian.
Overfishing is a major concern in Japan and recently, the country also pulled out of the International Whale Commission after nearly seven decades, accusing the body of getting diverted from the original objective of supporting sustainable commercial whaling.