The most expensive fish to eat is the Bluefin tuna at $20 to $40 per pound in your local grocery store. These are the ones that are typically caught off the East Coast but if you go to Japan to buy it, it will cost you about a week’s salary. There it can cost you as much as $200 a pound; a lot of money for a pound of tuna. In 2019, a Bluefin tuna sold for 3 million dollars and only weighed 612 pounds; that equals almost $5000 a pound. Bluefin tuna can be used as sushi, and in a sushi restaurant, it can cost from $90 to $150 per piece.
What Makes Bluefin Tuna So Expensive?
The main reason that this tuna is so expensive is that it is in such high demand in Japan, especially in sushi restaurants. There is only so much Bluefin tuna in the sea to be harvested so they are overfished. As of now, on the IUCN’s red list of threatened species, the Southern Bluefin Tuna is listed as critically endangered and could face the possibility of extinction. The Atlantic Bluefin tuna is endangered.
How the Value of Fish is Determined
- Where it was caught — this is the most important factor when considering its value. Off the US’s east coast, there are Monster Bluefin tuna that can weigh more than 500 pounds. If it is a good quality Bluefin tuna, it will cost about $17 a pound in a fish market. Near the California coast, the Bluefin weighs between 20-100 pounds. The prized high-end Bluefin comes from Oma, Japan.
- How was it raised (wild or farmed) — throughout the meat, Bluefin has a marbling of fat. In the wild, they can swim around, travel great distances, and eat a more varied diet so all of this gives the fat more flavor. When farmed raised, the fat will take on the flavor of their diet. For example, if they are fed mainly sardines, their fat content will taste like sardines.
- The section of the fish you are purchasing — certain sections taste better than others because of the fat marbling. This helps to increase the flavor so these parts cost more. The most expensive and fattiest part of the fish is the O-toro, which is the belly quarter of the fish. It goes from behind the head to midway between the Anal and Ventral fin. It is sold as raw Bluefin in high-end restaurants for sushi.
- Was it handled well after being caught — in Japan, the Bluefin is cut into more precise pieces and handled more carefully so this adds to the value. This tuna also has to go through more hands before it arrives in the US so this adds to the cost.
Bluefin tuna may be the most expensive fish to eat but here are some others that are also expensive to eat.
Other Expensive Fish
This is also known as Fugu and a very deadly fish. Just one drop of poison can leave you dead in a matter of seconds. If this is the case, why would anyone want to eat this fish? It seems as if this should be on the list of fish not to eat because of this. The Tiger Puffer fish is the one most expensive and poisonous but very sought after in Japan as a delicacy. To be able to serve it, their chef has to undergo a three year rigorous training session and then take an in-depth exam before they can prepare this delicacy. At this time nationwide, there are only 50 restaurants that are authorized to sell it. It can cost $12 to $200 or more to have this delicacy. In one restaurant in Japan, 15 pieces of Tiger Puffer fish sashimi cost $37 to $47. The actual price will depend on where it was wild caught or farmed.
The Swordfish can only be caught between August through October and is a hearty fish. You can find it year-round but it will probably be frozen. It is found in the Pacific Ocean. When you purchase the fresh filets, they can cost $11 to $24 per pound but depends on whether it is fresh or frozen. The fresh filets will cost more. They are considered an expensive fish because of the high demand and the difficulty in fishing and catching them.
This species of tuna can be found in subtropical and tropical oceans. It is a good alternative to the more expensive Bluefin tuna. If the tuna is fresh, sashimi-grade, a tuna steak can cost from $17 to $30 a pound while if it is considered non-sushi it can cost $8 to $15 per pound. One of the main differences between the Bluefin and Yellowfin tuna is the size. The Yellowfin is smaller. The taste is another difference with the Bluefin having more of a tuna flavor but because of the lack of fat content, the Yellowfin can lack the tuna flavor.
Wild King Salmon
One of the reasons that this is an expensive fish is that it is a hard fish to catch. Of all the Wild Pacific salmon species, this one has the highest flavor and fat. Each year, there are a limited number of these salmon offered for sale. This type of salmon can cost as much as $20 a pound or $15 to $22 per steak/fillet.
There are many reasons why these are the most expensive fish that you can eat, especially the Bluefin tuna and the Puffer fish. For Bluefin, it is a very high demand in Japan and for the Puffer fish, the chef has to go to a three-year training course and rigorous exam to fix it so they can charge what they want for their services. The fish has to be expensive to pay for that. If you have the money, then try these two expensive fish.
Looking at this list, you can see that there are many reasons for certain fish to be so expensive; demand, how easy it is to catch, and whether it was farm-raised or wild-caught. The price also depends on whether you are eating out or cooking it at home.