A 269kg/593lb Pacific Blue-fin tuna has become the world's most expensive fish after it was sold for 56.49m Yen (Â£472,125) at a Japanese fish market.
The giant fish was sold at Tokyo's Tsukji fish market in its first sale this year, which has become a part of the country's New Year celebrations, and was bought by the owner of a Japanese sushi chain.
The price paid also sets a new record price by weight, with each kilo being worth £1,755. With sushi consumption on the rise worldwide, particularly in China, demand is outstripping supply, so it was no surprise when the giant specimen, caught off Oma, in Aomori prefecture, broke the previous record.
The successful bidder said his bid was an effort to "Liven up Japan" and help continue its recovery after the devastating earthquakes and tsunami of 2011.
The previous record price had been set on the same market in January 2011, when a 342kg/753lb fish fetched 32.49m Yen (£257,320). Japan consumes more seafood than any other country including around 80% of the Pacific and Atlantic Blue Fin tuna caught.
The Pacific Blue-fin tuna (Thunnus orientalis) is the second largest tuna species in the world, growing to over 3m/9' in length and weighing over 450kg/990lb.
They are fast swimming predators, capable of speeds in excess of 48kmph/30mph in pursuit of their favoured prey of squid, mackerel and herring. The tuna are able to swim at these speeds due to adaptations that make them warm blooded, capable of maintaining body temperatures of up to 20°C higher than the surrounding sea.
Pacific Blue-fin tuna are currently not considered to be endangered despite pressure from fishing, unlike its cousins the Atlantic Blue-fin (Thunnus thynnus) and Southern Blue-fin (Thunnus maccoyii) which are considered 'endangered' and 'critically endangered' respectively on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
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