Last year's highest bid at the final New Year's auction of the Tsukiji fish market - where Mr Onodera made his purchase this year - was nearly double that.
This year's top per kilogram price, for a smaller tuna, was $1,419, compared with about $7,930 per kilogram for the 2013 record-setting auction price, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun and other local media reported. It amounted to about 90,000 yen ($798) per kilogram and was paid by a local wholesaler, the reports said. Onodera states that he tried to win the auction last year, so he is really happy with the win this year. "This is especially true because it's the past year in Tsukiji".
"Obviously the price doesn't reflect the true market price of the fish".
Local media said the top priced tuna was one of the biggest ever sold at the auction.
In the first auction for 2018, prices fell sharply from the levels in last year's hatsuseri, because a total of 145 bluefin tunas was put up for sale, about 60 percent more than in the previous year. The market's shift to a new facility on a former gas plant site on Tokyo Bay has been repeatedly delayed because of concerns over soil contamination.
Japan is the largest consumer of the fish and an uptick in consumption has led to overfishing of the species. The owner of an worldwide sushi restaurant has shelled out over Dollars 300,000 for a single bluefin tuna and said that he was very happy with the result. Jamie Gibbon, a Pacific bluefin tuna expert for the Pew Charitable Trusts, has been quoted saying that the high price paid today for a single Pacific bluefin tuna should not distract from the dire status of the species, which has been depleted by more than 97 percent by years of overfishing. "If countries continue to exceed their catch limits, as they have in recent years, the very survival of the species will be threatened", he added.
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