Record High Prices For Fish Ahead Of New Year's Eve

Fish Supply Low, Expect To Pay More For Ahi

 UPDATED 6:19 AM HST Dec 29, 2011

If you're planning on having sashimi to ring in the New Year, prepare to pay. That traditional dish is going to cost you this year with ahi in seriously short supply.

A combination of bad weather and an agreement to limit the annual catch for Western and Central Pacific waters, has resulted in big eye tuna in very short supply this year. That means higher prices for the good stuff.

At the fish auction, fish buyers were bidding high for what was brought in.

"Today, I thought we were gonna maybe have 100,000 pounds plus. We had only about 80,000 maybe 90,000 pounds. Again, we're still a little short and prices are reflecting that," said Brooks Takenaka, United Fishing Agency manager.

Another example of how critical the supply is this year, onaga was going for $29 a pound on Thursday. Normally around this time of the year, it's about $15 to $16 a pound. Fish buyers said customers are willing to pay for it, because they want that traditional red fish that symbolizes good luck.

"I hope so, if not, I'm in deep trouble," said Tamashiro's Market, Guy Tamashiro said with a laugh.

Tamashiro said he was unable to fill Christmas orders because of the shortage, but he's hoping things may change over the next couple of days.

"Hopefully, we'll have more come in and we can average our price down and we can sell it cheaper. But as it is now, we just go with the supply that we do have," said Tamashiro.

As for right now, expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $35 a pound for the better grades of ahi.

This was the last year for the 3-year fishing limits in the Western and Central Pacific, so fishermen are expecting more fish and a better market situation for next year.

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