Fish sells for £300k: fishy haul of fame

Tokyo fish auctionMark Baker/AP/Press Association Images

A Chinese fisherman is £300,000 richer today, after selling a 176lb fish to the highest bidder. The anonymous fisherman caught a Chinese Bahaba (otherwise known as a Giant Yellow Croaker) off the coast of Fujian last week, and huge demand for the fish pushed it into the stratosphere.

So why was this fish so valuable, and does it put it in the fish haul of fame?


The catch

According to a report in the Strait News, a Fuijan newspaper, the fisherman said he found the fish floating on the water and just picked it up. He said he had no idea what a prize catch he had on his hands until fellow villagers told him. He plans to use the cash in order to buy a bigger boat.

Sadly the reason the fish fetched such a high price is that it is incredibly rare - and considered endangered. It has been massively over-fished, and many of its natural habitats have been destroyed by pollution.

The experts say the species is unlikely to make a recovery. In many ways it is a tragedy that it was caught. The reason that the buyers were so keen is that its bladder is used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine in medicines intended to treat heart and lung ailments.

Haul of fame

Despite the tragedy for the fish involved, it has been a bumper pay day for a poor fisherman from rural China. and it is enough to put him in the haul of fame. The croaker will sit alongside:

1. In January this year, a new record was reached, when a bluefin tuna sold in Japan for almost £475,000. This was the most ever paid for a single fish, although the buyers got plenty of sushi for their money - as the fish weighed an impressive 269 kilos.

2. However, this isn't the only vast sum paid for tuna. Impressively, in 2001 Tokyo's prestigious fish market (pictured) sold a 440 pound bluefin tuna for £140,000. At the time it was the most expensive tuna to have been sold for almost a decade.

3. But tuna is not the only fortune fish. In 2008 a giant golden tigerfish was caught off the coast of Guangdong and sold for just under £50,000. The sellers were disappointed, as this was under two thirds of their original asking price for the 105lb fish. The buyer planned to sell it for novelty fish suppers.

4. Caviar has a reputation for great expense, but for the buyer has the advantage that you can at least buy a smaller quantity. Almas caviar comes from Iran, so it's very expensive and very rare. The only place you can buy it in the UK is the Caviar House in London, where a gold tin of it will set you back £16,000. However, for just £800 you can get your hands on a tiny tin of it.

5. And finally, fish with rarity value. Fukushima Octopus went back on the market in Tokyo this month. The prices aren't as stratospheric, as the others on the list, at just £12.36 per kilo, but are notable for being 30% more expensive than any other octopus at the moment. The fish are tested for radiation before being sold.
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