bluefin tuna is 1496 pounds, caught off Nova Scotia. Last year Kiyoshi Kimura paid $1.75 million just for one 489 pound bluefin tuna. That's $3600/pound. Sashimi is a must for the Japanese on New Year Day, and this was one way for a restaurant to entice and reward regular customers. These two pieces of sushi need to command a price of $450 to cover expenses.
However, the Pacific blue fin is close to extinction, as the drop from the baseline has been 96%. Further, the vast majority of those caught are below 2 years old, when they haven't yet reached reproductive capability. Yet, while at one point endangered, NOAA does not consider the Atlantic bluefin tuna to warrant species protection, for regulation seems to be working.
okihiko Okada and Hidemi Kumai (left), pioneers who have been conducting this work since 1969. My butler at the St. Regis eventually succeeded in helping me contact one of the staff, Dr. Keitaro Kato, but we couldn't work out a time to meet during my short stay. Kinki also has a research lab growing this tuna at Kushimoto in Wakayama Prefecture:
Farmed fish in general now account for 42%, up from 13% in 1990. However, 56% of shrimp and 99% of oysters are aquacultured.
Interestingly enough, the two companies most involved with the coming commercialization of farmed bluefin tuna are Toyota and Mitsubishi. The latter has already cornered 40% the world bluefin tuna market. Toyota is the corporation involved with commercializing Kinki University's farmed bluefin tuna. A key breakthrough occurred in 2002 when Kinki achieved a complete farming cycle, and as early as 2009 was alreading shipping 40,000 artificially hatched young fish a foot long to local farmers. One of these aqucultural companies in Nagasaki is called Tuna Dream Goto:
My next posting will be really kinky! But as I'm now in Osaka, the headquarters of Kinki University and the home of Yu-chan, what about the prospects of the whale shark being aquacultured to replace beef steaks, and maybe even turkey on Thanksgiving?