(Associated Press) A bluefin tuna sold for a record $1.76 million at a Tokyo auction Saturday, nearly three times the previous high set last year — even as environmentalists warn that stocks of the majestic, speedy fish are being depleted worldwide amid strong demand for sushi.

In the year’s first auction at Tokyo’s sprawling Tsukiji fish market, the 222-kilogram (489-pound) tuna caught off northeastern Japan sold for 155.4 million yen, said Ryoji Yagi, a market official.

The fish’s tender pink and red meat is prized for sushi and sashimi. The best slices of fatty bluefin — called “o-toro” here — can sell for 2,000 yen ($24) per piece at upmarket Tokyo sushi bars.

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