A bluefin tuna, bought for nearly three-quarters of a million US dollars has been sliced up and served to eager customers at a Japanese restaurant in Tokyo. The tuna, caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 56.49 million yen, (about 736,000 US dollars,) on Thursday in the first auction of the year at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. The price for the 269-kilogramme (593-pound) tuna beat last year's record of 32.49 million yen (around 420,000 US dollars.) Though the fish is undoubtedly high quality, the price has more to do with the celebratory atmosphere that surrounds the first auction of the year. The winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, the president of Kiyomura Co. which operates a nationwide sushi restaurant chain called Sushi-zanmai. The best slices of fatty bluefin, called "o-toro" in Japan, can sell for 2,000 yen (24 US dollars) per piece at Tokyo sushi bars. But the restaurant chain is offering the tuna at its usual price of 418 yen (around 5.44 US dollars) for an "o-toro", and cheaper for other less fatty parts of the tuna. With a long queue of customers circling the block around the restaurant, Kimura has limited orders to just one piece per person. The tuna was caught off Oma, in Aomori prefecture just north of the coast that was battered by the March 11 tsunami. Japan eats 80 percent of the Atlantic and Pacific bluefins caught, the most sought-after by sushi lovers. Japanese fishermen, however, face growing calls for tighter fishing rules amid declining tuna stocks worldwide.
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