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Upbeat bluefin tuna auction hides plight of popular delicacy

Although abundant at market, stocks of fish at sea remain seriously depleted

A 405kg bluefin tuna at the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo with its owner, Hiroshi Onodera, left, president of a chain of sushi restaurants. The fish fetched 36.45 million yen at the market's first tuna auction of the year.   © Reuters

TOKYO / NEW YORK -- Fishermen in Oma, northern Japan, were celebrating on Friday as one of their prized bluefin tuna fetched the most money during 2018's first auction at Tokyo's famed Tsukiji fish market.

It was the seventh straight year that the town reeled in the year's most expensive bluefin, this one costing 36.45 million yen ($323,000), or 90,000 yen per kilogram. Although exorbitant, the price was only about half that of last year's winner, and less than a quarter of the record 155 million yen paid for one of the town's bluefin in 2013.

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