Tuna sells for thousands in Tokyo

A sushi restaurateur has paid more than £42,800 (7.36 million yen) for a 230kg bluefin tuna in the year's celebratory first auction at Tokyo's Tsukiji market.

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People watch a bluefin tuna laid in front of a sushi restaurant near Tsukiji fish market after the year's celebratory first auction in Tokyo. (AP)

A sushi restaurateur has paid more than £42,800 (7.36 million yen) for a 230kg bluefin tuna in the year's celebratory first auction at Tokyo's Tsukiji market.

Kiyoshi Kimura's record-winning bid last year of 15.4 million yen (£89,845) for a 222kg fish drew complaints that prices had soared out of line. Mr Kimura also set the previous record of 5.64 million yen (£32,819) at the 2012 new year's auction.

"I'm glad that the congratulatory price for this year's bid went back to being reasonable," said Mr Kimura, whose Kiyomura company operates the Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain.

Environmentalists say growing worldwide consumption of bluefin tuna is leading to its depletion, and that those in charge of managing fisheries for the species are failing to take responsible action to protect it.

Japanese eat about 80% of all bluefin tuna caught worldwide, though demand is growing.