Why is Bluefin Tuna Is Sooo Expensive??!

Oli Simpson | 07.09.2023

Bluefin tuna, often referred to as the "king of sushi," is renowned for its remarkable taste and texture. However, its deliciousness is accompanied by an equally astounding price tag. In this blog, we'll delve into the reasons behind the high cost of bluefin tuna and also answer a common question: What's all the fuss about and how does it compare to yellowfin tuna in terms of quality and deliciousness?

The Culinary Delight of Bluefin Tuna

First things first, let's talk about the culinary experience of bluefin tuna. Many consider it the finest fish to grace their palate. Its rich, buttery texture and robust, succulent flavor make it a sought-after delicacy in sushi bars and high-end restaurants worldwide. It's the fish version of the finest beefsteak and definitely worth the same respect. or more.

$3m for one fish

That's the world record price for a tuna, paid by a Tokyo sushi restaurant in 2019 for a fish weighing in at 278kgs (which is not in fact particularly large). No doubt the free publicity was in Mr Kimura's mind when he placed that winning bid, but he didn't get there without the help of the underebidder. And they could have got the publicity much cheaper... the previous record was $1.5m.

The Price Puzzle: Why So Expensive?

  1. Scarcity: One of the primary factors contributing to the high cost of bluefin tuna is its scarcity. Overfishing and excessive demand have depleted bluefin tuna populations, particularly the Atlantic and Pacific bluefin varieties. This scarcity has led to strict regulations and quotas, limiting the quantity that can be caught legally. It should be said that these regulations have achieved their purpose. The Atlantic population of bluefin has recovered very wellin recent years and this species is now classified as LEAST CONCERN by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 

  2. Size Matters: Bluefin tuna can grow to immense sizes, with some individuals weighing over a thousand pounds. The larger the fish, the more expensive it becomes, not only due to its sheer size but also because older tuna tend to have better flavor and texture.

  3. Handling and Transportation: Such large fish require specialized handling and rapid transportation to preserve quality. These logistical considerations add to the overall expense.

  4. But mainly, it's the demand. The ever increasing popularity of sushi worldwide has pushed up the prices of its key ingredients.

Bluefin vs. Yellowfin Tuna: Which Is More Expensive?

Comparing the cost of bluefin and yellowfin tuna is like comparing apples to oranges. Yellowfin tuna is generally much more affordable than bluefin. Yellowfin tuna is often used in canned tuna products and is readily available in supermarkets, making it a cost-effective option for everyday consumption. Bluefin, on the other hand, is a luxury item reserved for special occasions and fine dining.


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