Kiyoshi Kimura poses with a bluefin tuna in front of his sushi restaurant outside Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo on January 5, 2013© REUTERS/ Toru Hanai
TOKYO, January 5 (RIA Novosti) - A 222-kilogram bluefin tuna sold for an all-time high of 155.4 million yen (about $1.76 million) on Saturday at the year's first auction at the Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market in Tokyo's Tsukiji district, Japan’s Kyodo News agency said.
The winning bidder was sushi restaurant chain operator Kiyomura Co., which also set the previous record of 56.49 million yen ($640,000) for a bluefin tuna at New Year’s auction last year.
"It was a little bit expensive," Kyodo quoted Kiyoshi Kimura, the company's 60-year-old president, as saying.
"But I hope we can encourage Japan by providing good tuna," Kimura said.
Bluefin tuna is prized for its tender red meat, which is the most sought-after by sushi and sashimi lovers.
The best slices of fatty bluefin can sell for 2,000 yen ($24) apiece at expensive Tokyo sushi bars.
Japan, which consumes about 80% of bluefin harvested worldwide, has been a target of criticism for endangering tuna populations in the Atlantic and Pacific.
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