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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
On a snowy Texas day I figured many of you would like some light reading from a recent trip of mine, especially you east coast bluefin slayers!

Over the thanksgiving holiday my wife and I took off to Japan to visit relatives living on the Misawa Air Force base in northern Japan. While in Tokyo I really wanted to visit the Tsukiji fish market in the Shiodome area, which we did on the morning of Wednesday November 25th. This market takes place every day except Sundays and one or two Wednesdays per month. From what I was told this was not a particularly busy day, just normal to maybe a little above normal.

This market handles something like 20% of the world’s seafood and it was quite insane. First of all anything that swims can be found here; live king crab, 100 lb jellyfish, sea cucumbers, oysters, sea snakes, gigantic jellyfish. I also saw tons of yellowtail, yellowfin, albacore, skipjack, bonito, and every other kind of tuna, but the bluefin story is quite insane.

I saw three big warehouses of bluefin lying on crates to be auctioned off for the sushi bars. One warehouse was fresh fish and the other two frozen bluefin. I saw fish from 100 lbs all the way up to 1000 + lb with most being in the 200-400 range. I would estimate the number of fish for auction to be right around 1000 total. All of the bluefin get auctioned off between 5 am and 6 am one right after the other at a frantic pace.

The fish have the heads and tails cut off and a slice of the tail section neatly cut off so the prospective buyers can feel the meat for fat content and color. The guys walk around with pics for lifting the fish. I saw two 130 lb Japanese men lift a 300 lb fish onto a cart, which was pretty funny.

The fish then go to restaurants etc, but some are sold in the market once filleted. I saw all kinds of meat and all kinds of prices. Meat is sold in yen/100 grams, so prices worked out into US standards are quite astounding. I saw toro for sale from $100-$600 per pound, and steaks up to around $60 per pound.

I guess part of my point in posting this is to show the impact of the Japanese market on bluefin stocks. I don’t think any of you east coast guys can put a dent in the fish compared to what happens here each day. These fish come from all over the world to help satisfy the Japanese insatiable appetite for bluefin. Enjoy the pics and I’d be happy to answer any questions you guys have.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Would that cut of steak be Chutoro. From between the Otoro and Maguri.

I asked for some toro and they gave me a sample of a cut that looked just like that, however it wasn't that expensive
 

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why is my mouth salivating right now?"

Btw has anyone taste the true difference btw Pacific one (ones near asia/australia) and the atlantic bluefin tuna. Any major difference in taste/ fight, etc?
 

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Yes, doesnt look good for the BFT. Check out this article:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/09/opinion/09mon4.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=bluefin&st=cse

It seems the problem could be reduced greatly if each country was limited to consuming their own locally caught BFT, and eliminated the international trade (with much of it being sold to Japan). So like Txcards said, don't feel too guilty about eating the one BFT you are allowed to keep per day, you arent really the ones doing the damage.
 

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i saw a special on TV one night about the bluefin that get flash frozen and stored away in huge warehouses.. I was amazed at the stockpile of frozen tuna they showed on TV!!!
 

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Makes you wonder how a smaller country such as Japan is consuming such large quantities of bluefin tuna... tuna this, tuna that, tuna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...
 

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Makes you wonder how a smaller country such as Japan is consuming such large quantities of bluefin tuna... tuna this, tuna that, tuna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...

Believe it or not most families don't have the income to have tuna all that often. They do, however, have enough stock to last them for a very long time, don't remember the exact number but I do remember gasping when I heard it.

On that documentary they also stated that a lot of the best toro producing fish came out of Cape Cod!
 

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Believe it or not most families don't have the income to have tuna all that often. They do, however, have enough stock to last them for a very long time, don't remember the exact number but I do remember gasping when I heard it.

On that documentary they also stated that a lot of the best toro producing fish came out of Cape Cod!

Why in the world would they kill off the tuna to store it up? Makes no sense to me... They stocking it in case of WWIII or something?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Makes you wonder how a smaller country such as Japan is consuming such large quantities of bluefin tuna... tuna this, tuna that, tuna for breakfast, lunch, and dinner...


Small geographically but very large population for its size. Also Japan has a large adult (bluefin eating) population. Toyko is gigantic compared with any city in the US and this market serves much of the country. Obviously the entire country is islands so it is ocean on each side.

Honestly fish is everywhere there (entire country). My wife and I rode the bullet trains along probably a 600 mile path, from Kyoto to Misawa and everywhere in between and seafood and sashimi is really everywhere.

I would best compare it like this: in florida everyone eats a lot of seafood. And you NE people do too, I guess we do in TX and California, but how much seafood is consumed in North Dakota, or Missouri, or Utah, or Arkansas? You get the point. Every place is like a coastal US place, and EVERYONE eats a lot of freaking fish.

Oh and I forgot to mention....I ordered 7 piece sashimi in Tokyo at an upscale place for $75 and got a surprise. Horse mackeral, bonita, skipjack, jellyfish, salmon, maguro, and live ebi (shrimp). I was thinking I use more of those for bait than I typically eat.........
 

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BFT will no doubt be looked back at someday much like the cod stocks in Newfoundland: too many humans harvesting more resources than could possibly reproduce.
 

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There is a number of people that say the Cod have recovered, but they are not likely to ever be fished again with the goofy tree hugger types in control of so much. Strange to me how some stocks can be fished to near extinction while others (ie red snapper) can take a beating when there is not really a problem. I fear the international interest in Bluefin may ensure the destruction of the population in my lifetime. I hope not.
 

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Why in the world would they kill off the tuna to store it up? Makes no sense to me... They stocking it in case of WWIII or something?


I believe they know that international regs will be coming down the road in the very near future.. Classic case of prospective supply and demand..
 

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Japan must be getting hit really hard by this global recession. No demand since no one can afford it so they have to stockpile. Comm prices were down to $3/pound this summer/Fall on the Cape.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Japan must be getting hit really hard by this global recession. No demand since no one can afford it so they have to stockpile. Comm prices were down to $3/pound this summer/Fall on the Cape.


Japan has been in a recession since the 1980s. It isn't new to them. New economical concerns are nothing new to them. They have been doing this for almost 20 years. Their solutions are identical to what Obama is imposing now. Future repeats the past...............
 
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