The most expensive fish to eat is bluefin tuna. A pound of wild-caught bluefin tuna can now range anywhere from $20 to $5,000.
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?
Bluefin tuna is highly prized and often considered among the most expensive fish in the world. Several factors contribute to its high price:
- Rarity: Bluefin tuna is a relatively scarce species compared to other types of tuna. Overfishing and declining populations have further reduced the availability of bluefin tuna, making it a rare commodity and an endangered species.
- Demand and Culinary Value: Bluefin tuna is highly regarded in culinary circles, especially in Japanese cuisine. It is the main ingredient in dishes like sushi, sashimi, and toro. The high demand for bluefin tuna, particularly in Japan and other countries with a strong sushi restaurant culture, drives up its price.
- Size and Weight: Bluefin tuna can grow to impressive sizes, with some individuals reaching weights exceeding 1,000 pounds (450 kilograms). Larger fish generally command higher prices due to the larger yield of high-quality meat they provide.
- Quality and Flavor: Bluefin tuna, particularly the fattier cuts known as toro, is prized for its exceptional taste and texture. The rich flavor makes it a favorite among seafood enthusiasts and fish lovers, further increasing its value.
- Fishing Methods: Bluefin tuna is often caught using traditional fishing techniques, such as rod and reel or pole and line, which are considered more sustainable and result in better quality fish. These methods require more labor and skill, contributing to the overall cost.
- Fishing Gear: A sturdy, heavy-duty saltwater fishing rod and reel combo is essential to catch bluefin tuna, and this type of gear is quite expensive. Look for a fishing rod with a high-quality blank, strong guides, and a comfortable grip. For bluefin tuna, a quality reel with a high line capacity, a strong drag system, and a smooth retrieve is crucial.
- Auction System: In Japan, bluefin tuna is typically sold through auction houses, such as the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo (now relocated to Toyosu Market). The intense bidding competition among restaurateurs and seafood wholesalers during these auctions can drive prices up significantly.
- Limited Seasonality: Bluefin tuna has specific migratory patterns, and the availability of fresh, high-quality fish is limited to certain seasons. This seasonality further increases its value and demand during peak period.
Bluefin Tuna Price Compared to Other Tuna Fish Prices
- Bluefin Tuna: $20 to $5,000 Per Pound.
- Albacore Tuna: $18 to $22 Per Pound.
- Skipjack Tuna: $23 to $30 Per Pound.
- Yellowfin Tuna: $30 to $35 Per Pound.
- Bigeye Tuna: $40 to $200 Per Pound.
Bluefin tuna may be the most expensive fish on the market, but what other fish are considered expensive?
What Are Some Other Most Expensive Fish in the World?
There are several types of fish that are considered expensive food and highly sought after for their culinary value. Here are a few examples:
Pufferfish, also known as fugu in Japanese cuisine, is indeed an expensive fish. Pufferfish is highly regarded by seafood lovers for its unique taste and texture, particularly in Japan. It is known for its mild flavor and the challenge it poses to chefs due to the potential toxicity of certain parts of the fish.
In the United States, fugu or puffer fish is not as commonly consumed as it is in Japan. For a high-quality fugu dining experience in the US, you can expect to pay several hundred dollars per person for a multi-course fugu meal at a reputable restaurant.
Swordfish is highly valued for its firm texture, meaty flavor, and versatility in various culinary preparations. The demand for swordfish drives up its price, especially when it is in high demand or during peak seasons.
In the United States, the price of swordfish typically ranges from $12 to $25 per Pound for fresh swordfish steaks or fillets. However, premium quality or specialty cuts may be priced higher, reaching up to $30 or more per Pound in some cases.
Yellowfin tuna is highly regarded for its firm texture and rich flavor. Its meat is often used for sashimi, sushi dishes, and high-quality tuna steaks.
In the US, fresh yellowfin tuna can range from around $20 to $40 per Pound, depending on factors such as the quality, location, and availability. Sushi-grade yellowfin tuna can range from about $30 to $50 or more per Pound.
Wild King Salmon (Chinook Salmon)
Wild king salmon is the largest species of Pacific salmon. Its high-fat content (omega-3 fatty acids) gives it a fantastic taste that many seafood enthusiasts appreciate, leading to its higher price.
The price tag for fresh, whole wild king salmon can range from approximately $15 to $30 per Pound. Fillets of wild king salmon are often more commonly available than whole fish. The price for fresh wild king salmon fillets can range from around $25 to $40 per Pound or more.
Most Expensive Seafood Options
Beluga caviar, derived from the roe of the Beluga sturgeon, is renowned as one of the most luxurious and expensive seafood delicacies.
Alaskan king crab is known for its large size, succulent meat, and delicate flavor. It can be quite expensive, especially the largest and most premium specimens.
Dungeness crab, particularly the large and meaty specimens, can also be quite expensive.
Lobster is considered a luxury seafood item and is often associated with special occasions or fine dining experiences.
Abalone is a prized shellfish known for its tender meat and distinct flavor. It is considered a delicacy in many cuisines.
Certain varieties of oysters, such as Belon oysters from France or Kumamoto oysters from the United States, can be quite expensive due to their unique flavors.
Please remember that the prices of seafood and rare fish can vary greatly depending on factors such as the region, market conditions, seasonal availability, and the specific quality and source of the product.