Tuna is a term that encompasses a total of 15 species. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that tuna can see a fair amount of variation in size as well as other physical characteristics from species to species. For example, the bullet tuna that can be found in tropical oceans will reach no more than a maximum of 50 cm in length. In contrast, the Atlantic bluefin tuna can reach a maximum of 4.6 m in length, with the average member of the species still managing an impressive 2 m in length. Based on this, it should come as no surprise to learn that some species of tuna command much more interest from seafood fans, which in turn, means that some species of tuna have much more value on the market.
In particular, the bluefin tuna is one of the most prized species of fish that can be found out there, which is rather remarkable considering that it used to be used as feed for pet cats. Of course, this is the product of demand and supply. First, there is an enormous demand for the bluefin tuna from the Japanese market, which considers it the tastiest member of its particular family. Second, the supply of bluefin tuna is running out, which is perhaps unsurprising when people are catching it at twice the legal limit and five times the recommended limit set by scientists who specialize on the matter. This over-fishing is particularly problematic because the bluefin tuna takes a considerable amount of time to reach its considerable size, which in turn, means that the over-fishing is killing a lot of them before they ever have the chance to breed. Simply put, there are some species of tuna that breed fast enough and mature fast enough to survive the sort of numbers consumed by humans, but the bluefin tuna is not one of them, meaning that its chances of surviving the not so distant future are not what one would call great.
What Are Some of the Most Expensive Tuna Ever Sold?
Regardless, bluefin tuna have managed to fetch some remarkable prices when sold at the Tsukiji Market. For those who are unfamiliar with that name, the Tsukiji Market is a fish market that can be found in central Tokyo. Moreover, it is a huge fish market, so much so that it is not just one of the biggest food markets in Japan but also one of the biggest food markets that can be found in the entire world, which combines with its associated businesses to explain why it is such a popular tourist destination. Regardless, the size of the Tsukiji Market means that interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised by the number of people it serves, which in turn, means that interested individuals shouldn’t be surprised by the prices that prized catches can fetch therein.
For example, a Japanese restaurant chain called Sushi Zanmai paid $117,000 for a bluefin tuna in 2016, which had been caught off of the Japanese coast. However, while this figure is impressive, it is nothing compared to some of the figures that other specimens have managed to fetch over time. For that matter, interested individuals shouldn’t expect this to be the last time that Sushi Zanmai comes up in this post.
After all, a bluefin tuna sold for $323,000 in the first auction of 2018. This time, it was bought out by the Yamayuki Group, which beat out Sushi Zanmai for the honor. However, it is important to note that this was the first time in seven years that Sushi Zanmai had lost that particular auction, which is why it purchased bluefin tunas for more than $600,000 in 2017, $736,000 in 2012, and $1.8 million in 2013. With that said, it is important to note that there are other factors that influenced the price of the fish in these cases. For example, winning the first auction of the year is believed to be lucky, which explains part of the fervor. However, it should also be noted that the $736,000 fish in 2012 was fueled by the head of Sushi Zanmai’s desire to provide Japan with a morale boost following the devastation of 2011’s tsunami. Meanwhile, the $1.8 million fish in 2013 was fueled by Sushi Zanmai’s competition with its rival Itamae Sushi, both of which have won some and lost some.