TOKYO (AP) — Sushi chain operator Kiyoshi Kimura appears to have netted a real bargain, taking home a 507 pound (230 kilogram) bluefin tuna for a mere 7.3 million yen (about $73,000), a fraction of the price he paid last year at the year’s first auction at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo.

The New Year’s auction attracts high bids as a celebratory way to launch the new year, but Kimura’s winning bid last year of 154.4 million yen for a 222 kilogram fish drew complaints that prices are beyond reasonable levels.

Kimura’s Kiyomura Co. operates the popular Sushi-Zanmai restaurant chain. He said Sunday’s price was “back to normal.”

Environmentalists say growing worldwide consumption of blue

Japan Pricey Tuna

A bluefin tuna is carried to a Sushi Zanmai restaurant near Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013. The bluefin tuna caught off northeastern Japan fetched a record 155.40 million yen, or about $1,763,000, in the first auction of the year at the fish market. Pic: AP.

fin tuna is leading to its depletion. Japanese eat about 80 percent of all bluefin tuna caught worldwide.

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