Tuna is a large-sized migratory species found in tropical and temperate zones around the world. Tuna caught in Aomori are all-natural Hon-maguro, or bluefin tuna. Bluefin tuna are considered to be the most delicious with excellent amounts of fat and great quality of flesh.
The bluefin tuna caught along the coast of Aomori, specifically in the Tsugaru Strait, are typically larger than other tuna, reaching 200 to 300 kg (440 to 881 lbs).
From spring to summer, bluefin tuna becomes available in the Sea of Japan, on the western side of the prefecture. With moderate fat and a fine texture, it is valued for its red lean meat. From fall to winter, the fish moves to the Tsugaru Strait, where the current is much faster. The tuna found in the Strait are, therefore, of prime quality, with a refined amount of fat with a savory sweetness. The well-known “Oma Tuna” comes from the Tsugaru Strait. It is also known as the black diamond because of its record-breaking selling prices in the Tsukiji Market’s first auction of the year.
Known for excellent quality all-natural Hon-maguro (bluefin tuna), the town of Fukaura in Aomori is the largest producer of tuna in the prefecture.
in season distribution period
Tuna found in the coastline of Aomori are Hon-maguro, also known as Bluefin tuna.
There are two separate groups of bluefin tuna found in the Tsugaru Strait. One travels to Aomori in the Tsushima warm current, which climbs up the Sea of Japan side to the Tsugaru Strait. The other group rides in the Kuroshio Current from the Pacific Ocean side. Another distinctive difference of tuna in Aomori is in the fishing methods. While pole-and-line or longline fishing style are used in Oma, fixed net fishing or longline fishing are used in the Sea of Japan coastal towns.
Oma tuna is a brand name used for sizable tuna caught under the territory of the Oma Fisheries Association in the sea of the Tsugaru Strait. It is highly regarded with high market prices. In the 2001 first auction of Tsukiji Market, a 202-kg (445 lbs) tuna was sold for an astounding price of over two million yen. Since then, Oma Tuna has continued to break the record. In 2019, one Oma Tuna was sold for 333.6 million yen, the highest price for fish sold in an auction in history. This has given the Oma Tuna the nickname of “black diamond.”
Bluefin tuna from the rough ocean of Tsugaru Strait have an exceptional balance of texture and fat. The tuna belly toro has marbling similar to that of prime wagyu beef which gives it a refined luscious flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture. There are many local dishes using the tuna including tuna bowls and lunch specials that can only be enjoyed in the town of Oma.
The pole-and-line fishing style that uses one mere fishing line is quite a sight. It has received attention from the media as the dynamic fishing style was televised. It also gathered attention as a cheering party for an Olympic athlete from Aomori wore t-shirts printed “Maguro Hitosuji (Maguro for Life).” Today, they have a community group “Aozora Gumi” with volunteers working to revitalize the town of Oma through various activities such as events promoting the town.
Harvest Months (Oma Tuna)
in season distribution period
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