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Last updated at 15:29 GMT, Friday, 06 January 2012

Giant tuna is sold for record $736,000


6 January 2012

A bluefin tuna has been sold at a Tokyo market for nearly three-quarters of a million dollars, the most ever paid for a single fish. The 269kg tuna was bought by a local restaurant owner.

Roland Buerk

Giant bluefin tuna

A chef cuts the bluefin tuna.


Click to hear the report


The first auction of the New Year at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market is always closely watched - high prices are a tradition.

But when the bidding was over the bluefin tuna had become the most expensive fish in history - 56.49m yen, nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

It smashed the previous record set last year of 32.49m yen.

The buyer was the owner of a chain of sushi restaurants. He said he wanted to liven up Japan and help the nation recover from last year's earthquake and tsunami.

The fish was caught off Aomori, just north of the coast battered by the disaster.

At 269kg it's a giant. But even so when cut up into sushi each mouthful works out at 5,000 yen, more than $65.

The restaurant chain though will sell it for its usual tuna prices, between $1.60 and $5.40 per piece, depending on the cut.

Roland Buerk, BBC News, Tokyo


Click to hear the vocabulary



public sale where the person who offers most money receives the goods

closely watched

followed with particular attention

the bidding

the offering of money at an auction

smashed (a record)

easily broke (a record)

a chain (of restaurants)

a group of restaurants with similar appearance, name and shared central management

to liven up

to bring happiness and cheer


to go back to the way it was (before a disaster, illness etc)

battered by (something)

badly affected by (something)


a piece of food small enough to be eaten in one bite

works out at

is calculated to be

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