National Fisherman

Mixed Catch 

jerryJerry Fraser is NF's publisher and former editor.



It almost seemed like déjà vu all over again last week when the news broke that a rather large bluefin tuna was sold in Tokyo for crazy big money.

In fact, just about a year earlier, it was announced that a 754-pound bluefin had sold for nearly $396,000 at the first auction of the year at Tokyo's famed Tsukiji wholesale fish market. It eclipsed the former record set when a 445-pound bluefin sold for $246,861 in 2001.

Well, the new record didn't last long. The first auction of the new year at the Tokyo fish market brought the sale of a 593-pound bluefin for a staggering $736,000.

Care to try some of this historic tuna? You'd best have a healthy limit on your credit card because you'll drop $1,238 a pound for the privilege.

Perhaps you only need to taste but a slice of the deliciously fatty and tender tuna to sate your bluefin appetite. Well, should you pop into one of Tokyo's top sushi bars, it'll cost you $24 per piece of bluefin heaven.

Should that still prove too pricey for your budget, you could instead sample tuna sushi from the record-setting bluefin. It'll only cost you $5.45 a piece.

One might wonder why a bluefin that wasn't as big as last year's whopper commanded so much more money. Is the meat from this year's record-setting bluefin of superior quality, thus commanding a substantially higher price?

Perhaps, but according to a story that appeared in the Orlando (Fla.) Bulletin, one reason for the high price is the celebratory atmosphere that accompanies the first auction of the year at the Tokyo market.

But what's even more fascinating is that the article notes that the buyer, Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Co., which operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain, felt it was important to give his country's morale a boost after last March's punishing tsunami. Kimura, it was reported, said he couldn't let the tuna, which was caught off northeastern Japan, be sold to another country.

Hence, he plunked down $736,000 for the bluefin. That, boys and girls, is a man who truly loves his country.

Inside the Industry

NMFS recently released a draft action plan for fish discard and release mortality science, creating a list of actions that they hope can better inform fisheries.

We know that fishermen have to deal with bycatch by discarding or releasing unwanted catch overboard, but there is a data gap regarding how those fish survive.


A new study has identified a set of features common to all ocean ecosystems that provide a visual diagnosis of the health of the underwater environment coastal communities rely on.

Together, the features detail cumulative effects of threats -- such as overfishing, pollution, and invasive species,  allowing responders to act faster to increase ocean resiliency and sustainability.

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Diversified Business Communications