January 6th, 2011
06:32 AM GMT
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Hong Kong, China (CNN) – A delicious delicacy, or a dangerously overfished species? The battle over bluefin tuna is nothing new but now a record purchase has put Hong Kong in the midst of the debate.

A local sushi chain paid 32.49 million yen (about $390,000) for a 342 kilogram Pacific bluefin tuna at the year's first auction at Tokyo's famous Tsukiji market. The chain, known as Taste of Japan, has won the bidding for the past three years as well.

Taste of Japan says it plans to sell the fish at a loss at its Itamae Sushi and Itacho Sushi restaurants. According to a spokeswoman for the restaurants, a piece of Supreme Fatty Tuna will retail for roughly $12, having cost the company more like $110.

WWF Hong Kong is condemning the "promotional gimmick." The conservation group, which believes bluefin tuna is on the road to extinction, says in a statement that Taste of Japan's actions encourage "irresponsible consumption."

Environmental objections don't seem to be warding off business though. The chain plans to start selling the tuna tomorrow night and believes it will sell out quickly.



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