Fisherman’s Fortune: The $736,700 Tuna
On August 21, The Telegraphreported that a fisherman had caught an extremely rare bahaba off the coast of Fujian Province in China. The fish weighed 176 pounds, and at £1,700 a pound, the fisherman collected £300,000 for the fish, or over $475,000.
The bahaba fetches high market prices for its swim bladder, which is used in Chinese medicine to treat lung and heart ailments. The fish has been known to exceed 200 pounds, so despite the impressive size of the August 21 catch, there have been larger specimens out there that yielded even higher paydays, such as one caught in south China in 2010 that sold for $540,000.
As impressive a haul as that is, it didn’t represent the highest known payday for something caught from the sea. There have been other fish worth hundreds of thousands of dollars more, and even though they represent the exception, they’re out there nonetheless. The sea is home to fish that people don’t mind paying a lot of money for, and that makes $7.99 for a pound of salmon look like chump change in comparison.
On January 5, a Japanese fishing industry still reeling from the March 2011 tsunami got a much-needed shot in the arm. On that day, a Bluefin tuna weighing almost 592 pounds was caught near the seaside Japanese town of Oma.
Normally, when a large fish is sold at Tokyo’s Tsukiji central fish market, the purchase is split between a local bar and a Hong Kong restaurant chain. This time, the fish was purchased in its entirety by a Japanese company.
The tuna was purchased by the Kiyomura Company in Tokyo for a record-setting $736,700, or approximately $1,244 a pound. The company that made the massive purchase owns the Sushi Zanmai restaurant chain, and owner Kiyoshi Kimura told The Wall Street Journal that rather than split the cost with a foreign company, he wanted this to be a purely Japanese purchase.
“Rather than having it taken away overseas, I wish for Japanese people to eat good tuna together,” he said. “Despite the March 11 earthquake and the sluggish economy, I want to lift up Japan’s spirits, urging people to work hard together.”