A Japanese sushi restaurant has paid 14 million Yen (£80,000) for a critically endangered 200kg bluefin tuna at an auction in Tokyo.
According to the Guardian, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of the firm that runs the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain, said he was ‘glad’ to have outbid rivals despite repeated warnings that the prized fish is heading towards extinction.
Marine conservation groups have consistently warned that chronic overfishing is threatening the survival of the Pacific bluefin – which is a delicacy in parts of Asia – and that urgent action is needed to rescue the population, which in 2012 was estimated to have plummeted by 96 per cent in the last century.
Amanda Nickson, director of global tuna conservation at the Pew Charitable Trusts, said:
Even if governments ensure existing management measures are fully implemented stocks will continue to decline.
About 80 per cent of the global bluefin catch is consumed in Japan, where specific cuts can cost several thousand Yen but the popularity of Japanese food means bluefin has become more sought after by diners in other countries, particularly China, leading to soaring demand for the species.
Pew have warned that the fish was “one step closer to collapse” after nations, including Japan, failed to agree to new conservation measures and the International Union for Conservation of Nature has moved it from the ‘least concern’ to the ‘vulnerable’ category on its red list of threatened species.
As reported in the Guardian, Ms Nickson added:
Given the already dire state of the population it is of particular concern that the auction price is rising again. The international community must let the Japanese government know that additional action is needed to save this species.
Maybe no sushi pack for lunch today then…