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Thursday, December 30, 2004
UFA General Manager Frank Goto said although fishermen usually bring in more fish for the holiday season, he has noticed a marked increase this year. Monday, the UFA auction saw 105,000 pounds of fish, while Tuesday brought in 150,000 pounds.
Usually, he sees about 60,000 pounds come in daily, spiking up to about 75,000 pounds during the holidays, Goto said.
"I've been here for 50-plus years, and I've never seen it go that high," he said. "If it's not a record, it's pretty close to it.
"That's a whole lot of fish."
Still, anyone wanting the best deal on quality ahi for their New Year's Eve parties should buy quickly, observers say.
"They started ordering New Year sashimi last week ... between 1- to 5-pound platters," said Brian Yamamoto, a manager at Yama's Fishmarket on Young Street.
"The prices, I think, will be between $18.95 to $22.95 (per pound for ahi). That's pretty good ... but if something goes wrong between now and Friday, then prices might change."
Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro Market said the real fish tale will be told over the next couple of days, as it gets closer to New Year's Eve. Though the supply is good now, Tamashiro said, people will hold off buying the coveted ruby-red blocks of ahi until the last minute to get the freshest catch.
Unfortunately, he said, waiting that long usually means customers have fewer choices. "Last year, the low-end stuff disappeared real quickly, leaving people with the middle- and high-end fish," Tamashiro said. "So people should remember that the least expensive stuff is the first to go.
"The prices could range between $8.95 to $29.95 per pound. ... It all depends on the quality."
Fish consumers are urged to start looking at prices now so that they can compare later and buy quickly before the New Year's rush.
"Main thing is, shop around," Goto said. "It's like anything else if you want a good deal."