bluefin tuna
Kiyoshi Kimura, the president of sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai, displays the 200kg bluefin tuna at his main restaurant near Tokyo's Tsukiji fish marketGetty Images

A giant bluefin tuna sold for $117,000 (£79,500 approximately) in the first auction of Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market. The city's famous sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai bought the endangered fish at the annual New Year auction.

The fish, weighing more than 200kg, was caught off Japan's northern coast. It was the most expensive fish to be sold at Tsukiji auction, a tradition of the market where bidders take pride in buying the first fish of the year, even if it would cost them several thousand yen extra.

The restaurant posted a photo of the tuna on Twitter announcing the win. It said the auction took place on Tuesday (5 January) morning and the whole fish was served to customers on the day itself.

"On Tuesday, January 5th, 2015, we successfully bid for a 222 Kg Bluefin tuna from Oma, Aomori prefecture," the restaurant announced on its website. "We served the Bluefin tuna to our customers...it was finished. Thank you for many visits."

Japan is the world's largest consumer of bluefin tuna, a species environmentalists warn is on the verge of extinction. The auction comes amid growing calls faced by the country for banning fishing and trading of tuna, AFP reported.

According to WWF, demand for giant bluefin tuna in the Japanese market started building in the 1970s. Japan, which consumes 40% of global bluefin landings, is paying high prices for this fish, which is a highly sought-after delicacy for sushi and sashimi dishes in the country.

At this year's auction, the bluefin tuna sold for a price three times higher than last year. In 2013, a single bluefin was sold for a record price of over $736,000 (£0.5m).

bluefin tuna
bluefin tuna
Fishmongers inspect frozen bluefin tuna before the first auction of the New Year at Tokyo's Tsukiji fish market on 5 JanuaryGetty Images