Giant Tuna Sells For Record $4.4 Million At Japanese Market

A giant bluefin has been tuna was sold for a record 333.6 million yen ($A4.4 million) in the first auction of the year at Tokyo's new fish market.

The 278 kilogram tuna, valued at 1.2 million yen per kilogram, was caught in Oma, one of the best tuna fishing grounds in Japan, on the northern tip of main island Honshu.

It was bought by Kiyoshi Kimura, president of Sushi Zanmai, a major sushi restaurant chain.

President of sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai, Kiyoshi Kimura displays a 278kg bluefin tuna at his main restaurant in Tokyo on January 5, 2019. Image: Getty Images

"I did not expect it to be that expensive. However, since I was able to buy a good one, I'd like customers to try it," Kimura told reporters.

Kimura bought the most expensive tuna in the first auction of the year from 2012 to 2017, including one at the previous record of 155.4 million yen in 2013.

Wholesalers check bluefin tuna lined up in rows ahead of the new year's first auction. Image: Getty Images

Japanese are the world's major consumers of bluefin tuna and its overfishing has long invited international criticism.

The auction was held at the Toyosu market, which opened at Tokyo's waterfront area in October after the 83-year-old Tsukiji fish market closed down despite fierce opposition from workers and lingering concerns about contamination at the new site.

Image: Getty Images

The relocation was delayed by almost two years as Tokyo had to deal with soil and air contamination and other issues at Toyosu, which formerly housed a gas production plant.

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