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How Many Tons of Tuna Salad Is That, Exactly?

This entry is part of a series, Follies 2012»

Bluefin Tuna

Everyone knows that sharks are a top predator in the world’s oceans. Even humans don’t fare well, mano-á-sharko. But there’s another great predator of the seas: The Bluefin Tuna. These fish live mostly in the deep water. They’re fast swimmers; they’re ideally evolved for swimming long distances, and they can even retract some of their fins to reduce drag on long hauls. They’re warm-blooded too; unusual in a fish, but an indicator of their top-of-the-foodchain metabolism.

They’re good eating too. Which is good for us, but bad for the bluefin. And they can grow exceedingly large, producing plenty of tasty meat. They’re known to grow to over 550 lbs, and over two meters long. Big fishie!

Tuna Steak

In 2001, a bluefin tuna that weighed 441 lbs sold for over $173,000 at auction in a Japanese fish market. Well, that record’s now been smashed. A recent catch yielded a 593-pound specimen that brought $736,000 (56.49 million yen). If sold at cost, that would yield sushi at $96 a piece. That’s right; nearly a c-note; or more than 19 fins, if you prefer. (Get it? Fins?? Man, I’m on a sushi roll here.) The buyer, who owns a sushi-zanmai shop in Tokyo, was selling pieces of the record fish for a bit over $5 a piece. Now that’s a loss leader! (Hmmm; leader. Should be a pun in there too, if I could find it.)

This big piscis is way too valuable to turn into tuna salad. I wonder how much it would make, though? At least a half-ton, I would guess, if it were all used for that. Something like 4,000 sandwiches? Imagine that; I bet that’s more than a week’s supply, even around here…

Enjoy the (Huge and Fishy) Heat!


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