Taipei, May 2 (CNA) The first fish of Pingtung's Bluefin Tuna Tourism Festival, which was caught April 26, was sold for NT$1.36 million (US$46,575) at an auction Wednesday in Pingtung, southern Taiwan.
The bluefin tuna weighed 224 kg and was caught off the county's coast in the Bashi Channel by the Donggang-registered boat Fu Yu Ching No. 2. It was bought by Yumaowu, a supermarket in Taichung, for a price of NT$6,100 per kg.
Pingtung Magistrate Tsao Chi-hung served as the auctioneer in a bidding process that saw the price soar from a starting bid of NT$2,000 per kilo to surpass NT$6,000, with six bidders taking part.
However, the price was still lower than the record NT$7,800 per kg that was fetched at the festival in 2004.
It was also the first time in the festival's 12-year history that the first bluefin was bought by a business outside of southern Taiwan. During the past 11 festivals, 10 restaurants in Pingtung and one in Kaohsiung purchased the first fish.
In addition, it was the first time a Donggang-registered boat had brought in the first bluefin of the festival. Ryukyu Islands-registered boats have taken that honor in all the previous events.
In comparison, a bluefin caught earlier this year off the coast of Yilan County in waters northeast of Taiwan sold at auction for NT$900,000, at a price of NT$2,500 per kilo.
Meanwhile, the Pingtung county government announced that it has organized a concert that will be held May 5 to celebrate the festival's opening.
(By Kuo Chu-chen and Jamie Wang)