Claire Corlett

Fish Food, Fish Tanks, and More
Why Bluefin Tuna Is So Expensive | So Expensive

Why Bluefin Tuna Is So Expensive | So Expensive

Narrator: In 2013, a 489-pound tuna sold for a whopping $1.8 million. But you can buy a can of tuna fish at the grocery store for under $2. So, what’s the difference? For starters, it’s not the same fish. Canned tuna typically comes from albacore. They’re small, grow fast,
and are abundant for fishing. And they certainly don’t weigh 489 pounds. There’s only one type of tuna in the world that grows that big, bluefin tuna. And if you wanna try
some, it’s gonna cost you. Derek Wilcox: We could buy tuna from Japan that we’d have to charge maybe $80 for one piece of otoro. Narrator: Derek Wilcox is a chef at Shoji, a Japanese restaurant in New York. He was trained in Japan and worked there for more than 10 years. Restaurants like Shoji
serve raw bluefin tuna, or what’s called kuro maguro in Japanese. They get their tuna from a
number of different sources, including Japan’s Tsukiji fish market. There are several different
varieties of tuna, but bluefin is what
you’re most likely to find at high-end sushi restaurants. Wilcox: Bluefin is the most sought after. Only bluefin has the intense marbling. Bluefin also, when it’s aged properly, has a particular balance of flavors. Narrator: A large adult bluefin can weigh around 450 pounds or more, and the price of the fish varies based on a number of different factors. Wilcox: It completely depends
upon where you get it from, but it’s never cheap. A local bluefin on the east coast will run anywhere between $20 and $40 a pound. You could be paying north of $200 a pound for bluefin from Japan. Narrator: According to
Wilcox, tuna from Japan is better than American tuna during the peak winter months. While Boston tuna is best
during summer and fall. But it’s the tuna that
comes from Oma in Japan that’s widely considered to be some of the best in the world. Wilcox: Peak-season Oma
tuna will, in Japan, cost 400-450 a kilo. Which means by the time it gets here, it’ll cost close to $400 a pound. Narrator: Besides its
superior fat content, another reason fish is
more expensive from Japan is that it has further to travel, and it goes through a
rather lengthy process before making its way to your plate. Wilcox: There’s more hands
that it passes through in Japan, which is not
necessarily a bad thing. Narrator: Wilcox says
the fish is also handled better in Japan than the US. So there’s less damage
and more precise cutting. Wilcox: We get like a Boston bluefin, it goes from the fisherman, to
the distributor, to our door. Whereas in Japan, it’s
going from the fisherman, usually to a collective or cooperative, to the government that’s
running the auction, to a middle wholesaler,
to a final wholesaler, to a restaurant or a hotel. All high-end fish are auctioned in Japan. Fish that’s more sought
after, that’s caught in a better place, that’s handled better, that’s clearly better quality
will go for a higher price, and that fisherman will
get more of the money. Narrator: The first auction
of the year in Japan is when you’ll see ridiculously
high prices for fish. Mostly as a symbolic gesture,
or a publicity stunt. Which is partly why
the 489-pound tuna sold for $1.8 million in 2013. And the first fish of
2018 sold for $323,000. Wilcox: In Japanese culture, that first thing you do all year is the most important. It sets the tone for the whole year. That first tuna of the
year always goes for the highest price that any tuna will go for the whole rest of the year. Narrator: And the different
parts of a bluefin tuna also vary drastically in price. Wilcox: If you imagine a
tuna as like a torpedo, they’ll split it into quarters lengthwise, cut off the head, and the collar, and we will take one of
the two belly quarters. Narrator: Here’s what
one quarter looks like when it’s delivered. This piece came from Boston, and was caught the previous day. Wilcox splits up the meat based on type. Wilcox: It’s just like sides of beef. You know, you buy a side
of beef, it’s all the same, but once you break it down, the filet ends up being
the most expensive part, because it’s the most desirable. It’s also small, and it requires a lot of labor to peel off the silver skin. Otoro is the fattiest part of the tuna outside of the head and collar area. Narrator: This is the most expensive. And depending on where it’s from, and where the fish was raised, the price can vary
anywhere from $10 a piece to upwards of $80. Wilcox: The chutoro is
getting around toward the side of the tuna, and it doesn’t have the striations of fat, but it still has fat
within the red of the meat, so you get a mix of fat and red. And then, akami which means, literally, red meat in Japanese, is the leanest part which you
find more towards the center of the tuna closer to the backbone. Narrator: Akami is the most common and cheapest part of the fish, but it’s still more expensive than that can of albacore at your local market. Wilcox: When you’re assessing
the quality of the tuna, you wanna taste the red meat, the akami. It’s a wild animal, so
it tells you whether it had a good diet, whether it had a good life, and it got exercise, and
it lived in clean waters, and was able to swim around a lot. So, a farm-raised tuna is,
generally, force-fed sardines, and you can actually taste sardines in the fat of a farm-raised tuna. Whereas a wild tuna has a varied diet, and has a much cleaner and
milder flavor to the fat. Narrator: But for
decades, wild bluefin tuna were over-fished in the Pacific, which was harming their population and making it more difficult to come by. However, more recently
tighter controls on fishing have led to a resurgence
in the population. But they could still
be better, Wilcox says. In fact, Wilcox avoids any Pacific bluefin that is not from Japan, and says you should too. Wilcox: If you eat Pacific bluefin, not specifically from Japan, then that’s really irresponsible.

100 comments on “Why Bluefin Tuna Is So Expensive | So Expensive

  1. Why it's expensive…?
    1. There is not much out there
    2. Sale system you can buy it cheap from the fisherman even in my country there is japanese ship that buy this fish in the middle of ocean from the local fisherman and they not even fishing…
    3. Tha japan version had a big amount of radiation and mercury

  2. So buying blue fin from America is irresponsible but buying it from japan isn’t ok??? Is this guy smoking crack or something?

  3. Pass. The best fish in the world is Hamachi (Pacific Yellowtail) off the California coast. Smoked, it's Ta Live For. To those of you who eat raw fish, enjoy.

  4. riiiiiiiiiiiiiight, fukashima didnt have any effect on the eco system. Japanese fish is tainted, let alone the rest of the ocean #StayDistracted

  5. well.. with fukushima nuclear reactor tainting the sea of japan and possibly across the pacific ocean..

    will it still be safe?


  7. You can buy "Blue Fin Tuna" in "GenSan Philippines in a very cheap price. GenSan is the 'Tuna Capital of the Philippines"

  8. 1.8 million haha good one. Where my fishers at? Go get some giant blue fin and farm them and sell em cheaper please

  9. $80/pound for O-toro is crazy. That is way too many middlemen. Same thing with Japanese rice. Greatly overpriced. I like the Derrik in

  10. The only reason this fish is endangered and so expensive is because Japan has been raping the oceans for decades with their Longliners.

  11. So this guy is telling me, only Japan and the US can fish tuna? What about the tuna in southern Philippines? It cheaper and probably taste the same. It just marketing

  12. Why don’t we go and catch Bluefin Tuna? And become millionaires? After selling to Japan? Something is telling me it’s not that easy to catch? 🤔

  13. Go ahead, let the Japanese feed you bluefin tuna.  Tuna from anywhere else is "irresponsible"?  I think the Japanese have cornered the bluefin tuna market!  "I think I'm turning Japanese, I think I'm turning Japanese, I really think so!"

  14. Okay but why tf would I want a tun that is not fresh out the see like Japanese tuna…
    Get me a tuna from Florida and it will be the freshest ever no auction needed

  15. A New Zealand fishing show host caught a 400pnd Blue fin, was going to let it go but it died on way up. He said "i could sail to Japan and retire with this" but he took it home and cut it up for family and friends

  16. We used to catch these back in the 70's and just cube them up to catch flathead or minced them for shark chum. No one really ate them much where I lived back then.

  17. YOO!! I must be tripping or something! That dude @4:10 i swear that he's the native Mexican guy "actor/server" at a restaurant that was being filmed for "What Would You Do?" Can someone verify?!! Lol

  18. Bluefin Tuna are no more endangered then diamonds are rare and sadly these type of dudes are paid well to publish inaccurate information because most will believe anything they read, I e. The average bluefin travels more then 12,000miles a year but what Mr. Wilcox isn't telling the people is that the tuna that departs from the east coast in the fall is the same tuna that swims to Japan in the winter..😶

  19. Literally NOTHING that "chef" said about tuna from Japan being better has any basis in reality. First, it's STILL Pacific Bluefin Tuna. Second, all those extra hands it goes through, as a matter of Japanese LAW, serve ONLY to raise the price. He's literally saying it's better simply because more people have had their hands on it. That more expensive necessarily equals better. So go to a diner and buy their cheapest burger, maybe $4.50 to $6.50 vs McDonalds cheapest at $1.50. The diner burger MIGHT be a LITTLE better, but certainly not 300 to 500% better. The only thing he said that rings true are transportation costs and farmed vs wild caught.

  20. IDK why it's sooo freaggin expensive? That nuclear power plant that blew up is still leaking into the ocean and that bluefin is contaminated by its radiation

  21. 1000% agree, we must be smart about Bluefin tuna or they won't be here. The netting of huge schools is appalling. (using planes to see the schools, then having boats drive in place miles of netting)

  22. And here I thought Japan was over fishing. It's great when a country cares enough to control how much fish you can take out of the water. Tuna is my favorite fish. Specially on sushi.

  23. How the hell can you make money if you spend 2 mil on a damn fish either way somebody put me on game so I can go and catch me just one of them mfs

  24. My boy who bought the fish for 1.8 million dollars really said
    Fun isn’t something one considering when balancing the universe

  25. And all the "prized" Pacific tuna that swim where the leaking Fukashima nuclear power plant off the east coast of Japan spews its radioactive isotopes are hopelessly contaminated.  Bon appetite.

  26. Ist also nur eine Frage der Zeit wann diese Art ausgestorben sein wird/ so its only a matter of Time befor this species of thuna will be extinct

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