Chu-Toro 2014


Chu-Toro is sold all over the world, especially in the USA where it is frozen according to the FDAs strict requirements. If you eat raw fish in America, it should have been submitted to flash freezing to prevent any bacterial contamination, and rightly so for a country over obsessed with food regulations.

The Blue fin is controversial, and for a good reason. In most countries (outside Japan) fisheries are destroying the sea beds, the oceans supply of fish. Over fishing, greed and poor industry standards make it continue.

In Japan the opposite is mostly true, as Japanese are much more precise in fishing, accustomed to the seas, an island culture that lives from the surrounding ocean. In fact, the top percentile of Blue Fin, the most prized species in world involved sales of Pacific bluefin caught in Japan by ippon zuri (one hook, one line) fishermen out of Oma port in Aomori Prefecture, the northernmost point on Honshu, the country’s main island.

These fish are caught in the dangerous waters of the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, which connects the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan. The warm Kuroshio Current, which originates off eastern Taiwan and primarily flows up past Honshu’s eastern coasts, brings the tuna from July to January via a branch that flows through the Sea of Japan then out to the Pacific through the Tsugaru Strait, which is only 20 km across at its narrowest.

Each year in early January, the first auction of big, fresh end-of-season Oma bluefins at Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the world’s biggest by far, always brings astronomical prices for both symbolic and promotional reasons. This year (2014) a 230-kilogram Blue Fin was purchased at the Tsukiji market’s first auction of the year for 7.36 million yen ($70,000), significantly down from the 155.4 million yen paid for a fish of similar quality in 2013, below 10 million yen for the first time in five years.

My guess is, the economy is picking up, so why over pay to promote business, when business is already good enough. On top of it, over paying translates into over charging.