How much did the biggest bluefin tuna go for?

After nearly 10 hours of dehydrating on the boat, bluefin tuna still weighed an incredible 1,496 pounds. This world record for tuna has stood for nearly 40 years and we may never see it broken. Not only is Ken Fraser's bluefin tuna the largest tuna ever recorded by the International Hunting Association, but it's also one of the most iconic records of all time. A major bidder who owns several popular restaurant chains, Kiyomura Corp, said he intentionally abstained from making high bids this year out of fear that large numbers of customers would be inspired to come to his restaurants, as high bids for high-quality tuna tend to get a lot of attention from the press.

However, the spectacle surrounding the first bluefin tuna auction of the season leaves conservationists with a bad taste in their mouths. While it is widely recognized that bluefin tuna is a threatened fish, the price paid on Thursday for a 593-pound catch is more a sign of nationalism and marketing mockery than a sign of the danger that tuna has posed itself. Japan, the world's largest consumer of tuna, often faces international criticism as the Pacific bluefin tuna population declines. The most recent catches of large bluefin tuna include one off the coast of Maine and another off the coast of Louisiana.

For this year's auction, fish wholesalers used masks and sanitized their hands while examining the texture of the tail meat of fresh and frozen tuna by touching, smelling and sometimes tasting pieces of it. Every year, the first auction of a Pacific bluefin tuna caught in Japan attracts the attention of this sushi-loving nation.

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