Friday, August 06, 2010

Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo

Tsukiji fish market was amazing. It's a small city, estimated to have around 60,000 people who work there. It's interesting that they're not quite sure, since most people who are there work in independent businesses.

Here's a short video clip of tuna being auctioned at the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, the world's larget. There are two auctioneers working at once, the singing sounds are the voices of the auctioneers. Note the differences in their voices, to work near each other they have distinct styles, one more uniform and the other with a repeating rhythmic sound.

There are some amazing fish being sold, I wonder how much for this fish that looks to be a 300 kg (660 pound) bluefin tuna? There are hundreds of tuna in this room on this day, you can see them spread out on racks that go perhaps 100 meters into the distance. There's another room in the other direction that has nearly this many tuna in it also. I'm not sure how many tuna overall, but well into the hundreds and perhaps over a thousand. Just one day's business in Tsukiji.

Walking around the fringes of the market, you can find retail stalls selling anything. Here are some whole dried sardines, at 2000 yen per kilogram (about 10 US dollars per pound). Whatever you like, I'm sure you can find it here.


Jeff Jolley said...

This is frustrating. I feel that you have softened. Are you still TNC..or ONC? Since you have been in Switzerland the blog has definitely changed. You're not pushing the issues in our face or being politically incorrect. You did that before. The tuna posts are a prime example. Japan doesn't get a break just because they are the last country to still exploit something in a detrimental way. Stay "in our face" about how we are damaging our resources.

Mark Powell said...

Wow, thanks for your comment Jeff! This is important.

From my perspective, it seems to me that I'm learning a lot and being open to the new lessons in front of me. I'm dealing a lot with people, ideas, practices, and cultures that are unfamiliar. I think I should take some time to learn and digest before being critical. But your comment makes me question this. Perhaps I need to be more sharply critical.

On Japan and bluefin tuna, however, I have to stand by my comments. There is something wrong in pinning all the blame on Japan. It's too easy, and it misses the prime culprit responsible for bad bluefin management lately.

For Atlantic bluefin, managed by ICCAT, the major force behind overfishing has been European countries. Did you know that Japan blocked the import of some bluefin tuna from Europe this year? It was a very strong move that sent shock waves through EU fishing interests and governments. See

If conservationists can ally with Japan on this one issue, getting rational limits on fishing through ICCAT, then it's a victory for conservation.

This is politics, and as the saying makes for strange bedfellows.

I'll think about your comments, thanks again.

Jeff Jolley said...

In retrospect, I didn't mean to be so forceful in my comment. Sorry if I came off rude. You are absolutely right, this is a complicated issue. Nothing is more frustrating to me than the overfishing issue because it is complicated and political...and there is a real sense of urgency.

I have followed your blog for several years - it is important - and I often share your posts with others. Keep up the good work. I think we need more "advocates" out there.