Bigeye Tuna Prices Surging in Japan amid Short Supply (News)


Tokyo, Oct. 3 (Jiji Press)—Wholesale prices for popular frozen bigeye tuna, widely seen in supermarkets and kaiten-zushi conveyor-belt sushi restaurants in Japan, are surging amid poor catches and international fishing regulation.

Wholesalers and retailers are concerned that low-priced tuna will become unavailable in the country. Bigeye tuna has long held a major presence in the price segment on the back of abundant supply and therefore lacks substitutes.

Bigeye tuna has less fat than bluefin tuna, a prized delicacy often served at high-end sushi restaurants, but is popular in the Kantō region including Tokyo, and the northeastern Tōhoku region, due to its bright red flesh. It is also used in processed food, including negitoro minced fatty tuna.

Bigeye tuna is fished around the world. But catches have plunged in the past year or two, reflecting poor takes in the Pacific Ocean and stricter regulation in the Indian Ocean.

The amount shipped to Tokyo's Tsukiji wholesale market in September fell some 30% from a year before, about half the level in 2012 or before, when the market had plentiful supply.

An auction hall for frozen bigeye tuna at Tsukiji Market in Tokyo on September 30, 2017. (© Jiji)

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