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.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. ok.. so its really funny.. what they do, they have an auction, for the fish, 1 of the first of many, and this has got to be happening everyday btw. But the first of the year, they over pay for it by about 90% "as a publicity stunt" they do the exact same thing, with all of the other "fancy japanese fruits" for the mangos, they massage them and bag them like asap, you get this super bright color, then first of the year, the owner of the farm, buys his own, food, for 90% more than what its worth, like for example its a 10 dollar box, of 2-4 mangos, he'll offer 50,000 dollars for it. Because then the workers who literally waste all theyre time doing stupid shit with the fruit and getting paid shit wages, feel justified, because some idiot paid alot. But its all a scam, cuz he bought his own, food so the money goes back to him. Same thing, in all of japan, for every fruit, and vegetable, and what a suprise, even the fish. Oh and one more thing, not sure about the accuracy of the numbers here. 1.8 million yen is alot different from 1.8 million dollars, my guess, is that its yen. so 1 million yen is equal to 100k usd. that sounds a little more realistic to me. lets do a little fish sales economics here. most sushi restraunts in japan, sell a set of two regular fish, like salmon, or this akami, for 1 dollar.
    in one fish there are probably 200 cuts of akami, the more fatty cuts will go for double that, say.. 3 dollars, for 1 or 2 cut or slice of the fish. lets say there are 300 of these cuts per fish. so 3×300= 900 for fatty, then 200 for akami,
    lets just average it out and say the sales profit amount for one large/average blue fin tuna would be around 1500 dollars. That is what the restaurant sold it for, and made a profit. so the number one rule of business is buy it for 1 sell it for 2, essentially always double your money. So if that was the case, we can say the average cost of a normal large blue fun tuna, is about 600 dollars, probly not much more than that, or the restraunt cannot make a profit.
    600 dollars, is roundabout essentially 60,000en. Again you might hear silly things like, "oh he paid 60,000 dollars for it" When, in fact they were most likely talking about 60k en, which is 600usd, or some ridiculous publicity stunt, and not the average price, but a special price paid.

  2. He said if you don’t get tuna specifically from Japan it’s irresponsible. But minutes before that they said they had a quarter that was fished from Boston in America.

  3. Kuro means black? What is this trolling lol
    I don’t know a lot of kanji kuro could mean something else

  4. One day I went on a fishing trip and came back and watched people fish and they caught like 4-6 of these

  5. A huge chunk of Blue fin tuna in Australia are sent to Japan. Worked in a Blue fine tuna factory in South Australia. A single Tuna would be worth 10-20k

  6. So grateful for these videos so my children will know what a bluefin tuna is before these assholes fish them to extinction.

  7. In the Philippines specifically in romblon a Bluefin tuna just worth php 180 per kilo which is 3 dollars and we really enjoy it every meal.

  8. If you're not Japanese I don't think you should have Japanese restaurant that's stealing people's culture

  9. The thumbnail says 1.8 million dollars and then I see how much subscribers they have and I’m like what s coincidence 1.8 subs 1.8 million dollars

  10. Here's the thing I fisher tournaments all the time for yellow fin and bluefin i have one multiple tournaments sold the fish you don't get that much money you sure as hell don't get one and a half mil


  12. basicly i need to catch 1 fish and i will make more money selling it than i wil make in an entire lifetime of working a job

  13. I just had some pacific bluefin caught off the san clemente islands. Bluefin are finicky eaters and typically don't bite on an anglers pole so Im not worried about overfishing at this point because fish and game only allow a certain daily bag limit.
    The tuna I ate was from our doctor so we made poke out of it.
    The meat is so delicate, soft and near flavorless. It's perfect for poke!
    Now we need to try the fatty part. I would love to see what that tastes like.

  14. Me: watching Liverpool red’s beating shit out of Barcelona
    YouTube : if you would like to watch why tuna is expensive coz it’s meat is red .
    😂 😂

  15. So the 200 lbs Tuna that I cought and threw it back to the Ocean the other day was worth something? 😭😭😭

  16. My brother and I always joked around that the best sushi restaurant in new York is the same as sushi restaurants you find for cheap in japan

  17. So only a few complaints/questions: on steak that I've ate, most of the fat is on top, and tastes horrible, making me spit that part out, so why does the fat make it so expensive, and not the red meat part, which is all meat, holding the more flavor?

    Also, don't sit there and say it's irresponsible and leave it there, it sounds pretentious and does not explain why, in fact, wants me to go fishing for some myself, so that I don't have to spend an arm and a leg for it.

  18. He said if it’s not meat from Japan you’re eating that’s really irresponsible yet they are taking a shipment of a quarter of a Boston Blue fin Tuna into their restaurant? Hypocritical eh?

  19. So because there are a billion of them in every auction we have to suffer the price? I guess we are paying for no radiation in it…

  20. Oma tuna are also caught by pole. (then using mechanical reels to reel them in because they're like twice the weight of a fisherman.) those fishermen also has a side job catching squid, both selling squid and using squid as bait for catching the big tuna. more often than not, a single boat's not going to bring in a tuna a day, maybe 1-3 a week on good weeks. a single fish is several weeks worth of pay, and sometimes they can go a month without a catch.

  21. I get it. Blues are delicious…especially in Japan. However, they will eat every single last one of them.

  22. I wouldn't eat sushi for free even from a million dollar tuna it taste like shit! Yes I have tasted shit before dumbasses!

  23. youtube's garbage algorithm is forcing this video on me again, yes, eating tuna is apparently in the
    topic of.

    Pets – Topic
    Recommended channel for you

    do the people at Google regularly eat their pets?

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