Pandemic affects first blowfish auction of 2021
NHK -- Jan 05
This year's first auction of blowfish, or fugu, has been held in the western city of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Shimonoseki is home to the largest market in Japan for the winter delicacy.

Over six tons of wild and farmed torafugu were auctioned at the Haedomari fish market early on Monday morning.

The auction started shortly after 3 a.m. Buyers and sellers negotiated their deals in the traditional style, by grasping each other's fingers inside a cloth sleeve hidden from other bidders.

The highest bidding price was 15,000 yen, or about 145 dollars per kilogram. That's about three-quarters of last year's price.

The lackluster prices appear to reflect a drop in demand for the fish from restaurants and other businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The blowfish will be mainly shipped to the Tokyo and Osaka areas.

The president of a wholesaler says that if the government decides to declare another state of emergency over the coronavirus, blowfish prices are likely to fall even further. He expressed hope that more people will enjoy the fish.

山口県下関市で新春恒例のフグの初競りが行われました。今年は新型コロナウイルスによる影響で「ご祝儀相場」とはなりませんでした。  競りにかけられたのは、天然や養殖のトラフグ6.6トンです。競りは袋の中で指を握って値段を決める独特の「袋競り」で行われました。今年は新型コロナの影響で飲食店などでの消費が低迷したこともあり、期待していたご祝儀相場はなく、天然モノの1キロあたりの最高値は去年より5000円安い1万5000円でした。  下関唐戸魚市場・見原宏社長:「やはり、こういう状況下のなか、致し方ないかなと」  競り落とされたフグは、主に関東や関西に向けて出荷されました。
News sources: NHK, ANNnewsCH
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