This fish sold for $37,000 at auction in Tokyo—two years ago it would have fetched $1.7 million


Japan’s first bluefin tuna auction of the year took place this weekend at the famous Tsukiji fish market, which has been in business since 1935. It’s been called “the Wall Street of Fish.” Historically, the first bluefin sold there each January has been the year’s most expensive, as a matter of ceremony. The price peaked in 2013 when a 489-lb specimen went for $1.76 million, provoking outrage among conservationists who viewed the sale as a publicity stunt symbolizing man’s ruthless plunder of the seas.

Global bluefin tuna populations have been dwindling for years. There are three species—the Pacific bluefin (prized by sushi eaters), the Atlantic, and the Southern—and all three are sold at the Tsukiji market. All three populations are critically low.

In 2014, perhaps as a consequence of the 2013 uproar, the same chef who had purchased the million-dollar-plus fish (and the $736,000 fish in 2012) paid only $70,000 for the ceremonial bluefin…

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