The Japanese love their tuna, and they love to show off their cash.
Those two things intersected in the first fish auction of the year when a prize tuna, a single fish, was purchased for $200,000. While that might seem ridiculous, at least it was a bit less than the high bid in 2020 and a full 40% less than what was paid in 2019. Some bidders blame the virus, but not in the way you might think.
Restaurants often bid high amounts because they know the media will report it, which will drive customers to their establishments. But in the year of COVID-19, these restaurants are hesitant to do anything that will bring in more clients because that might increase the spread of the disease.
Koh Ehara, president of wholesale company Tohto Suisan, said:
“The spread of the new coronavirus will eventually be contained when vaccines and treatment will be in widespread use. Until that day comes, we, as one team of all in this market, are determined to continue with the stable supply of fresh food without disruption.”
It looks like the fish sellers will have to make do with “just” $200,000 for the prize catch.