Chicago Shimpo
Bluefin Tuna Cutting Show at Tensuke Market

• The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna Cutting Demonstration was held at Tensuke Market in Elk Grove on October 6, and a big crowd gathered to watch the show. A 400-pound-bluefin tuna that was caught offshore of Boston, MA was then brought to the store by a refrigerator truck, not by a freezer one.
• The professional cutting scene was projected on a big screen for the audience, who could not watch the show directly.
• In the middle of the show, “naka-ochi”, tuna meat around the backbone, was offered by the store for a tasting. Store staff quickly packed the fresh meats such as Ootoro, belly of tuna with a high fat content, and Chutoro, medium fatty tuna, so the audience could buy some fresh tuna for sashimi.

• Takashi Sugiyama, former President of Tensuke Market, who has been in the tuna purchasing business since the 1970s, said that the fat content of bluefin tuna was very good and delicious in October.
• According to Sugiyama, schools of bluefin tuna move to Boston, then farther north to Canada after their spawning in Florida. While they are moving north, they don’t eat, so their fat content declines. Around July they begin to eat small fish offshore of Boston or Canada, and their fat content gradually grows in August, so the taste of tuna becomes better in September and October.

• Schools of bluefin tuna move again to the south, and fatty, big tunas are caught around North Carolina in November and December. When January comes, the schools get into the Gulf of Mexico. If a catch limit is still open, big tuna would be caught. Around March, their spawning starts and their fat content decreases.

• Sugiyama said, “If you go tuna fishing as leisure, July is the best because ocean is calm. So you can really enjoy fishing. Ocean gradually becomes rough in August and stormy in October. Temperature is very cold, and you are shivering even in winter clothing.”
• He caught giant tunas by himself: a 640-pound tuna in 1986 and a 965-pound tuna in 1989. “When I caught a 640-pound tuna for the first time, my friend and I cried for the sensation,” he said.

People gather around the tuna cutting table and take photos.

Takashi Sugiyama, former President of Tensuke Market