Why Bluefin Tuna is So Expensive? A tuna once sold for $1.8 million
A 489-pound tuna sold for $1.8 million in 2013. But, it will cost you under $2 if you are buying a tuna fish from a grocery store. So, you may wonder, what is the difference?. This is not the same fish. Canned tuna typically comes from albacore. These fish are small, grow fast, and are abundant for fishing. And they don’t weigh 489 pounds.
There is only one type of tuna in the world that grows that big. And that is bluefin tuna. If you want to try some of these tuna it will cost you a lot.
Derek Wilcox is a chef at Shoji. It is a Japanese restaurant in New York. He was trained and worked there for more than 10 years. These kinds of restaurants such as Shoji serve raw bluefin tuna. These bluefin tuna are called Kuro Maguro in Japanese.
These restaurants get these tuna from a number of different sources including Japan’s Tsukiji fish market. There are several different varieties of tuna. But bluefin tuna is most likely to be found in high-end sushi restaurants.
A large adult bluefin tuna can weigh around 450 pounds or more. And the price varies based on a number of different factors. According to Wilcox, tuna from japan is better than American tuna during the peak winter months. And Boston tuna is best during summer and fall. But tuna that comes from Oma in Japan is widely considered to be some of the best in the world.
Other than its superior fat content, another reason fish is more expensive from japan is because it comes from far away to America. And also the tuna goes through a lengthy process before making it as a meal for consumers. According to Wilcox the fish is better handled in Japan than in the US. Because of that, there is less damage and more precise cutting.
The first auction of the year in Japan is when you see extremely high prices for fish. It is mostly a symbolic gesture or a publicity stunt. That is one of the reasons why the 489-pound tuna sold for $1.8 million in 2013. In 2018, the first fish sold for $323,000.
Different parts of a bluefin tuna also change in price. When the fish came to the restaurant, Wilcox splits up the meat-based type. Otoro is the fattiest part of the tuna outside of the head and collar area. This part is the most expensive. Depending on where it is from and where the fish was raised, the price can differ from $10 apiece to upwards of $80. Akami is the most common and cheapest part of the tuna fish. But it is still more expensive than a can of albacore at your local market.
For decades, wild bluefin tuna were overfished in the Pacific. It is harming their population and making it more difficult to come by. But recently tighter controls on fishing have led to a resurgence in the population. But according to Wilcox, it could still be better. He avoids any Pacific bluefin that is not from Japan.
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