The Tsukiji tuna market is only open to the public later in the day after the early morning auction, to which visitors can apply for a ticket.
Tokyo – Fact Check

The connection between tuna and electronics

Photo by Eve Edelheit

Tokyo – Fact Check The connection between tuna and electronics

Bluefin tuna is now the most expensive fish in the world, with the first auction of the year at Tsukiji fetching prices that can exceed $1 million for one fish.

Kieran Meeke
Kieran Meeke Travel Writer

As recently as the 1960s, however, bluefin tuna were thrown back after weighing when caught by sports fishing boats, who prized the fish’s fighting quality but considered it uneatable. Its strong smell and taste put consumers off, even in Japan, but after World War II the import of cheap beef from the US introduced Japanese consumers to stronger, less subtle tastes as well as fat. This gave a boost to the tuna industry that was met by fishing boats who could land larger hauls due to improvements in refrigeration.

The electronics revolution of the 1970s also saw Japanese airlines facing the prospect of flying back empty cargo planes after making deliveries to the US. They found a product in the cheap bluefin tuna being discarded by the sports fishing industry and started bringing that back to Japan, while encouraging its consumption through advertising campaigns. This perfect storm saw demand for bluefin tuna soar to the heights it has reached today, where its very survival is threatened by over-consumption.

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Tuna is now a major product at Tsukiji Fish Market, although it was considered fit only for pet food in Japan before the 1920s. The first tuna auction of each year now attracts record prices, a tribute to the importance of seasonal food in Japan. Photo by Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Canon EOS 5D-III

Aperture
ƒ/2.5
Exposure
1/40
ISO
400
Focal
24 mm

Tuna is now a major product at Tsukiji Fish Market, although it was considered fit only for pet food in Japan before the 1920s. The first tuna auction of each year now attracts record prices, a tribute to the importance of seasonal food in Japan.

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