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Gold That Swims
The northern bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) may be the most financially valuable wild animal on Earth.

Value of one adult northern bluefin tuna: Often over $10,000, although one prime specimen is reported to have sold for $173,000.

Weight of one adult northern bluefin tuna: Typically 250 to 300 pounds (110 to 100 kilograms). World record is 1,496 (700 kilograms). Size of large tunas has decreased due to overfishing.

How bluefins are bought: Brokers usually buy tunas on New England docks directly from fishermen. The fish are immediately frozen, then shipped by air to Japan for auction in wholesale seafood markets like Tokyo's giant Tsukiji market, the center of the tuna trade.

Price of one order (two thin slices) of bluefin sushi in a Tokyo restaurant: Around $100.

Why is October 10 Tuna Day in Japan? Because the Japan Tuna cooperative says so. The date coincides with the writing of a poem about tuna published in an eighth-century work named Manyoshu.

Web Links

The Sushi Bar
A resource for sushi on the Internet. Find recipes, etiquette, pictures, a glossary, and a list of over 4,600 sushi bars in the U.S. and abroad.

International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna
Browse statistics, scientific assessments, and publications on tuna conservation.

Free World Map

Bestor, Theodore C. Tsukiji: The Fish Market at the Center of the World. University of California Press, forthcoming spring 2004.

Myers, Ransom A., and Boris Worm. "Rapid worldwide depletion of predatory fish communities," Nature (May 15, 2003), 280.

"One tuna fetches 20 million yen at Tsukiji," Japan Times online, January 6, 2001. Available online at


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