With fresh ahi, you get what you pay for - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

With fresh ahi, you get what you pay for

Guy Tamashiro Guy Tamashiro
Brooks Takenaka Brooks Takenaka

By Tannya Joaquin - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's the year end fish frenzy at the United Fishing Agency and the main attraction is ahi for New Year's celebrations.

"Every year my hair turns whiter and whiter. It's such a crazy game to play every year because we don't know how much supply will come in," said Guy Tamashiro, owner of Tamashiro's Market.

Fewer fish have come in this year driving prices up.

"Maybe 70,000 to 80,000 (pounds). We're used to 90-100,000 (pounds) a day. So it's been a very stressful period coming up to this day. We've seen exceptionally high prices. Much higher than we normally see. Today we have about 100-120,000 pounds but even then we're 'already behind.' " said Brooks Takenaka, assistant general manager of United fishing Agency.

Behind because local fishermen reached their quota November 22 and stopped fishing in the Western Pacific.

They're fishing in the East, fishing far beyond the Big Island so it also becomes a matter of time. Time is involved in how old the fish are so we're seeing a lot of weaker quality fish, said Takenaka.

Price is determined by color and fat for flavor.

"Now, if you take a look at this one, it does have a little bit of damage, but you see a little bit of marbling. That's fat. It's older. Color is off not as nice as this," he said.

The high end will be high because there are only a few of the really nice ones so everyone has to fight for those.

Premium ahi fetches $10 per pound at the auction. That runs as high as $40 at the retail level.

"Been here a few times and saw higher prices of ahi than past, but overall I think it's pretty fair," said Mililani resident Eric Flood.

Tamashiro Market hopes to offer lower end sashimi for around 15 dollars.

"This year with the area closures, that kind of threw us off a bit but the snowstorms out there helped us a little bit," said Tamashiro.

"If the supply lasts the next two days, then I think we'll have really good prices for the low end which is great."

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