The fish, caught off Japan, was sold in the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market, the Associated Press reports. The buyer is Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Kiyomura Holdings, which owns the popular Sushi-Zanmai chain of restaurants in Japan. Kimura says the fish would be eaten by his customers that evening.
Kimura set the previous record at last year’s first auction, which can see higher-than-normal prices as a means of showing joy for the new year.
The $1.76 million price means Kimura paid $3,603 per pound. He told the Kyodo News Agency that, while the price was higher than expected, Kimura paid it to “encourage Japan.” Bluefin sushi can sell for as much as $24 per slice in Japan.
While Kimura may be celebrating, environmentalists are not. The high demand for bluefin in Japan has placed strain on the available supply, and scientists warn that populations are down significantly.