The year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market traditionally fetches the highest prices for fish, not necessarily for quality of the fish, but for the media buzz and excitement surrounding the event. It’s also a time to set the tone of the business year in Japan, one of the world’s largest consumers of seafood. The country consumes more than half (nearly three-quarters) of the world’s bluefin catch, according to the BBC and ABC News Australia.

Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Corp., the operator of the “Sushizanmai” sushi restaurant chain, set the record for highest bid for the second year in a row. Kimura paid 155 million yen ($1.7 million) on Saturday for a bluefin tuna that weighed 489 pounds. It was caught off north-eastern Japan. Kimura later admitted that the fish’s cost may have been “a little high.” Kimura also set the record price last year for a fish that weighed 103 pounds more than this year’s catch. That fish sold for 56 million yen ($641, 317), despite its greater weight.

Get a glimpse of the actual tuna in the video below.

httpv://youtu.be/Pdk9fU9jH7Y

Kimura told reporters he wanted to “encourage Japan” with his high bid.

“I wanted to meet expectations of my customers who said they wanted to eat Japan’s best tuna again this year,” Kimura told Jiji Press.

Kimura said he hopes to begin serving the fish as soon as Saturday at Sushizanmai restaurants for the chain’s regular prices.

Image from Steve Cadman (stevecadman) on the flickr Creative Commons

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