'Tuna King' Kiyoshi Kimura pays record Sh316m for giant fish

'Tuna King' Kiyoshi Kimura pays record Sh316m for giant fish”

The fish weighed a hefty 278kg (43.7st) and was bought by Kiyomure Corp, whose owner Kiyoshi Kimura runs the Sushi Zanmai chain.

The fish normally sells for up to £30 a pound but the price rises to over £160 a pound near the year's end, especially for prized catches from Oma in northern Japan.

"The tuna looks so tasty and very fresh, but I think I did too much", Kimura later told reporters.

The winning bid for the famous but endangered species of bluefin tuna at the predawn auction in Tokyo turned out to be more than double the 2013 New Year auction, according to The Guardian. But a year ago, the owner of a different fish restaurant chain paid the highest price.

It is customary for bidders to pay extra at the year's first auction, and particularly this time because it was the first such auction held at the new market that opened in October.

The final New Year's auction at Tsukiji in 2018 saw a tuna fetch 36.45 million yen.

Tsukiji was one of Japan's top tourist attractions and was used by top sushi chefs and ordinary grocery stores alike.

The Tokyo metropolitan government decided in 2001 to relocate the aging Tsukiji market to Toyosu, but the initial plan to open the new market in 2016 was pushed back following the discovery of pollutants and subsequent decontamination work.

Japan is the biggest consumer of bluefin tuna, leading to the overfishing of the species, with some experts warning that it faces extinction.

"We have a lot of tuna here like we did in Tsukiji", he said.

The relocation was a lengthy and controversial process.

In contrast, the new market, located around two kilometres to the east at Toyosu, boasts state-of-the-art refrigeration facilities and is almost twice as big as Tsukiji.

But Toyosu is located on the site of a former gas plant and the soil was found to be contaminated, forcing local authorities to spend millions of dollars to clean it up and delaying the move.

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