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Whale meat in Japan like chopped liver when compared with fresh bluefin tuna

January 6, 2009 | 12:42 pm

These bluefin tuna were pen-raised off Ensenada but delivered to Japan and sold at auction.

Proof that Japan prefers fresh fish to whale meat (reference is to a previous post): Two sushi bar owners on Monday paid more than $104,700 at a Tokyo auction for a single bluefin tuna.

Granted, the tuna weighed 282 pounds, but that's a lot of yen (9.63 million) to shell out for one premium fish. In fact, it's the most at the Tsukiji market since 2001, when a much larger Japanese bluefin fetched 20 million yen.

The recent catch went to a Hong Kong sushi bar owner and a Japanese competitor, who agreed to share a type of tuna prized for its fatty meat and buttery texture.

A slightly bigger bluefin caught off the the East Coast of the United States fetched only $15,400 at the same auction. That's because the Japanese prefer domestic tuna, of which there's a shortage.

Japan also raises tuna in pens off Ensenada. The pens are visible to motorists along Baja California's main highway.

--Pete Thomas

Photo: These bluefin tuna were pen-raised off Ensenada but delivered to Japan and sold at auction. Credit: Associated Press

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