We have all heard of the common fish you can buy from the grocery store: salmon, tuna, cod, etc. But as far as seafood goes, some fish from the deep blue can prove to cost much more than your average fish stick.
Are you curious about just how expensive fish can be? Take a look at our list below!
Everything you will learn here
- The 10 Most Expensive Fish for Eating
- Why are the most expensive fish so pricey?
- Most expensive fish to eat: Conclusion
The 10 Most Expensive Fish for Eating
Whether you’re looking to try the most expensive fish for eating in the world or want to actively avoid spending extra money, this list offers some rather fascinating insight. Like they do in the ocean, let’s dive in.
1. Bluefin Tuna is considered the most expensive fish to eat
The Bluefin Tuna is by far the most expensive fish to eat in the world. Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, the sea creature has been sold for as much as $3,603 per pound. If you think that’s steep, also consider that this type of fish has been sold in the past for $1.8 million and more recently for $3 million.
In general, and in more appropriate settings, the Bluefin Tuna sells for between $20 and $40 per pound in the local grocery store. However, if you’re looking to buy one in Japan, you’re looking at average costs of $200 per pound. High-end sushi restaurants come in between these costs with a range of $90 to $150 per piece. But high-end bluefin tuna can cost a lot more. The table below shows the most expensive bluefin tuna which has ever been sold at auctions. The high ticket prices are achieved to create world-class sushi from the finest chefs.
World most expensive fish to eat: At an auction at Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market, a 600-pound (272-kilogram) bluefin tuna was sold for a record-breaking $3.1 million. This sale marks the highest price ever paid for a single fish in the auction’s history, surpassing the previous record of $1.76 million. The winning bidder was Kiyoshi Kimura, owner of the Sushizanmai restaurant chain, who is known for paying top prices for the first bluefin tuna of the year.
Bluefin tuna is highly prized in Japan as a key ingredient in sushi, but overfishing has led to concerns about the species’ sustainability.
What is the most expensive fish to eat? The $3.1 million bluefin tuna is now considered the world’s most expensive fish ever sold. The price per pound of this 600 pound (ca. 272 kg) heavy fish comes down to $5,057 / lb or $2293/kg respectively. The $3.1 million dollar bluefin tuna is therefore not only the most expensive fish in the world to eat, but also the most expensive fish per pound. Second most expensive fish per pound was another bluefin tuna, sold for $3,603 / lb to the same buyer: Sushi chef Kiyoshi Kimura.
Fun fact: The buyer expected Kiyoshi Kiruma expected the auction to end at 50-60 million Yen, which is only half a million dollars. However, betting at the auction heated up, and the price of the most expensive fish to eat soared at $ 3.1 million. He was unsure, if he went a little over the top, as he spoke with BBC journalists right after he bought the most expensive fish per pound.
|Year of the auction||Price of the most expensive Tuna||Price per pound |
of the most expensive Tuna
|2001||$173,600||$386 / lb|
|2010||$175,000||$343 / lb|
|2011||$396,000||$528 / lb|
|2012||$736,000||$1,247 / lb|
|2013||$1.76 million||$3,603 / lb|
|2019||$3.1 million||$5,057 / lb|
The Bluefin Tuna can be quite large – some weighing over 600 pounds (ca. 272 kg). But it seems the key to getting a good deal here is location, location, location. The high demand in Japan makes it a hot commodity, while fish caught off the coast of the United States has a lower value.
2. Puffer Fish (Fugu, or Blowfish)
While the pufferfish is deadly to many other sea creatures, it has become a delicacy to humankind. In fact, this fish is served in fewer than 50 restaurants in the United States. “Why?” you wonder may wonder.
Not only is this fish poisonous to other animals of the sea – it’s also deadly to humans, as well.
It takes specialized training for a chef to be able to properly cook and prepare a pufferfish so as to remove its toxicity. The FDA has even issued a specific warning recommending that individuals only eat this fish from high-quality restaurants.
You can find pufferfish for as low as $12, but other restaurants will serve it for upwards of $200. Given the risk you’re taking, I’d say it’s safe to assume that the more you pay, the more confident you can feel in the chef’s abilities to not kill you.
The pufferfish contains a dangerous toxin called tetrodotoxin. It runs throughout the animal’s entire body and is derived from bacteria. This toxin is up to 1,200 times more poisonous than cyanide, and one fish has the potential to kill 30 adult humans – with no antidote.
The toxin is also the reason the pufferfish is one of the most expensive fish to eat. It is very difficult to remove the toxin of the fish filet completely, and it requires a lot of training to do so. Because it’s an art to master this skill the pufferfish is a delicacy, especially in Japan, where this poisonous fish is eaten regularly.
Read more about the poison of the pufferfish and learn about the Most Poisonous and Venomous Fish in the World in the dedicated post.
Swordfish is often enjoyed by anyone who loves a good steak. That’s because this fish is thick and meaty, unlike many of the more flaky fish we’re accustomed to consuming.
Swordfish can be prepared in many ways: on a kabob, under the broiler, and on the grill. Its versatility makes for quite an impressive meal, no matter how you prepare it.
While it’s not the most expensive fish in the world, it will cost you more than a plate of Mahi Mahi from your local seafood restaurant. That’s likely due to the fact that it’s quite tricky to catch this fish. At anywhere from 50 to 200 pounds, it’s a real fighter in the water.
Average prices for swordfish land somewhere around $30 to $40 per pound, which make swordfish a delicacy and one of the most expensive fish to eat. For just one fish, that can certainly add up quickly.
4. Almas Caviar
Most people regard caviar as “fancy” food. It’s certainly not cheap, and the already tiny fish eggs come in minuscule portions. Almas caviar is a costly kind of fish egg – appropriate, given that the name “Almas” means diamond in Russian.
This particular kind of caviar comes from the sturgeon, which is currently an endangered species. The rarity of this animal has made its eggs just as scarce, which has significantly boosted its cost.
It certainly doesn’t help that the golden eggs are classically presented in a 24-karat gold container.
Hold on to your hats, folks; the Almas caviar can cost as much as $25,000 for just 2.2 pounds of the product.
Is it worth it? None of us may ever be able to even taste it to find out. However, those who have tried the fish eggs describe them as complex, richly nuanced, nutty, and creamy. It is served cold and alone, so one can truly appreciate the refined taste of caviar – one of the most expensive fish dish to eat.
5. Yellowfin Tuna (Ahi)
Due to the sushi industry that has become increasingly popular around the world, Ahi Tuna, or Yellowfin, doesn’t seem to be that rare to the naked eye. However, when purchased from high-quality fishermen, it can prove to be quite pricey.
When caught locally, the average price of this fish is $8 to $15 per pound. Given that an Ahi can weigh as much as 400 pounds, one single fish can cost a whopping $6,000.
However, a fresh, sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna steak will most likely break the bank with a price of $17 to $30 per pound. This fish is the highest rated, sushi-grade tuna you can find, and it doesn’t exactly fit into the average budget. The price make this fish one of the most expensive fish to eat.
But, it is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 oil, so you give and take sometimes.
6. Wild King Salmon
Coming in at around $22 per pound, the wild king salmon isn’t the most ridiculously priced item on our list today. It is, however, still more expensive than the bag of frozen salmon that you feed your family on an average Tuesday night and still one of the most expensive fish to eat.
Also called the Chinook salmon, this fish is one of the most challenging species of salmon to catch during the year. It has the highest fat contents, and therefore the most decadent flavor of all the wild Pacific salmon species. It also has the potential to be the largest, at times.
The shared favorite among seafood lovers, it runs out quickly during the season. That’s no surprise, given its dense and meaty texture with a hint of sweetness. The sushi-grade belly is also excellent for topping your favorite roll.
(There are plenty of fish that are dangerous to eat, try reading; Most Dangerous Fish to Eat)
7. Coffin Bay King Oyster
Coffin Bay King Oysters hail from their namesake, which is Coffin Bay, Australia. These oysters are the largest in the world, measuring 18 centimeters and weighing over two pounds.
You might be wondering how a little oyster could possibly be on this list, but at $100 a pop, this fish is no joke and without a doubt one of the most expensive fish to eat.
This delicacy is served raw, meaning there is little to no prep. That’s right – all of that money goes strictly towards the single creature. Served with a slice of lemon, this simple dish seems anything but extravagant – until you get your bill.
8. Bay Eel is considered the 2nd most expensive fish to eat
Across many parts of the world, the Bay Eel is considered an endangered species. In the United States, it’s one of the most expensive kinds of seafood you can get your hands on. It’s also considered to be extremely healthy, which is just another little bonus.
So, if you can afford to drop $2,000 on one meal, you might consider testing out this rarity. That’s right – $2,000 for the Bay Eel. The price is so expensive that Eel is one of the most expensive fish to eat in the United States.
You can find this creature mostly in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean, all the way from Venezuela to Greenland. However, you can also find nonindigenous occurrences in the United States.
9. Beluga Caviar
Although caviar is the eggs from any fish, true caviar comes from sturgeons alone. While we mentioned the Almas sturgeon above, we now have to move on to the Beluga sturgeon. This fish is very large, and so it produces the largest fish eggs on the market.
These grey-to-black eggs are considered one of life’s greatest pleasures among caviar lovers with expensive taste.
The Russia-native is one of the oldest fish in the world, dating back to the days of the dinosaurs. While the female fish can live as long as 110 years, they don’t produce eggs until about 20 years, which is why they’re so rare and one of the most expensive fish to eat.
In fact, the delicacy from this particular fish was so rare that at one point, there was a ban on this caviar. You still can’t get it in the US, but you can from other places in the world – all for a grand total of $200 to $300 per ounce, which adds up to anywhere from $7,000 to $10,000 per one kg.
10. Dover Sole
The Dover Sole is the most common type of sole fish and, therefore, has the most availability. In terms of pricing, this lean flatfish doesn’t measure up to some others on our list. However, at $6 to $8 per pound, it definitely surpasses the grocery store budget and could be considered as one of the most expensive fish to eat. However, the price is still acceptable, compared to bluefin tuna or bay eel, which are stupidly expensive.
People enjoy eating Dover Sole fish because they usually contain lower amounts of mercury than other fish, which can help you avoid the risk of mercury poisoning.
This fish is also low in calories but contains high levels of protein. Along with good protein numbers come other good nutrients like selenium, vitamin B12, and phosphorus.
Sole fish are also often used in traditional Chinese medicine, giving the fish some additional value outside of the dinner menu. But, when they are eaten, they are typically paired with light foods such as vegetables and grains. Food experts agree that this fish doesn’t pair well with eggs or dairy products.
With a mild taste, those who don’t enjoy fishy-tasting fish may find the Dover Sole to be more appealing to their palate. It’s comparable to a neutral Tilapia flavor.
(You might also be interested in reading about the other Best Eating Freshwater Fish)
Why are the most expensive fish so pricey?
There are 4 reasons, that drive up the price of fish enormously. They are:
One reason why some types of fish are expensive to eat is due to their rarity. For example, certain species of sturgeon that produce caviar, such as beluga and osetra, are found in limited regions of the world and are endangered, making their eggs highly sought after and expensive. Similarly, other types of fish, such as bluefin tuna, may be rare due to overfishing and declining populations, resulting in higher prices for the remaining catch.
The demand for certain types of fish can also drive up their price. For example, bluefin tuna is highly prized for its delicate flavor and desirable fat content, making it a popular choice for sushi and sashimi. As a result, the demand for this fish can be high, leading to higher prices at the market. Similarly, other types of fish, such as lobster and king crab, may be considered luxurious or special occasion foods, leading to higher prices due to the perceived value and demand for these dishes.
3. Preparation and Processing
Another factor that can contribute to the high price of certain types of fish is the labor-intensive process of preparing and processing the catch. For example, pufferfish, is a highly toxic species that requires careful preparation to remove the dangerous parts of the fish before it can be consumed. As a result, the cost of preparing and serving pufferfish can be quite high. Similarly, the process of producing caviar, which involves collecting and processing the eggs of sturgeon, is also time-consuming and costly, leading to higher prices for this delicacy.
4. Legal Restrictions
In some cases, legal restrictions can also contribute to the high price of certain types of fish. For example, the trade of certain species of fish or fish products may be regulated or banned in order to protect the species or preserve the ecosystem. This can limit the supply of these fish, leading to higher prices due to the reduced availability. Similarly, certain types of fish may be subject to quotas or catch limits, which can also impact the supply and drive up the price. Legal restrictions can also increase the cost of importing and exporting certain types of fish, adding to the overall price of the product.
Still, if you’re determined to try the most expensive fish in the sea, be sure that you’re choosing fishes that were caught legally. Otherwise, you could be fined heavily, support the destruction of the ecosystem or eat unsafe fish.
There are a few additional factors that can contribute to the high price of certain types of fish:
- Seasonality: Some types of fish may only be available at certain times of the year, leading to higher prices during the off-season when supply is limited.
- Location: Fish that are caught or farmed in certain locations may be more expensive due to the cost of transportation and distribution. For example, seafood from remote or hard-to-reach areas may be more expensive due to the added logistics of getting it to market.
- Quality: Fish that is of higher quality or has certain desirable attributes, such as a specific size or fat content, may command a higher price.
- Packaging and presentation: Fish that is sold in fancy packaging or as part of a special presentation may be more expensive due to the added cost of the packaging and presentation.
- Marketing and branding: Fish that is marketed as a premium or luxury product may command a higher price due to the perceived value of the brand.
Most expensive fish to eat: Conclusion
There are so many fish in the sea; you might think that they’re far too accessible to possibly cost as much as the ones we’ve discussed today. Nonetheless, these rare, delicious, and sought-after creatures often cost more than the average individual could ever afford.
If you ever find yourself lucky enough to try any one of these fancy feasts, enjoy the moment, and make sure you take a picture of the most expensive fish to eat, before it’s gone!
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