Prices of New Year's tuna are still uncertain in Honolulu

MarketsAssociated Press

Ahi prices are still uncertain in Honolulu as demand rises leading up to New Year's Eve.

A pound of ahi was running from $14.95 to $39.95 at Tamashiro Market on Thursday. But the prices can change when new fish begin hitting Hawaii stores over the next few days as fishing vessels unload their catch, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

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Ahi is a traditional food for the holiday for many island residents.

"How's it going to be this year?" asked Brooks Takenaka of the United Fishing Agency auction house. "I just don't know. It's going to be over the next few days when much of the purchases are done."

When asked what tuna prices will be like for New Year's sashimi, Guy Tamashiro said, "Today's price is today's price."

Tamashiro buys the ahi for his family's market, which likely won't have trouble selling higher-quality cuts of ahi in the coming days. "For ahi, what sells first are the high end and the least expensive," Tamashiro said.

The eventual retail price of tuna through New Year's Eve will be determined by the market forces at work at the auction house.

"The trick is how much the lower end is going to be," Tamashiro said. "It all depends on how much we have to pay for it."

Kelsey Lee purchased for a pound at $39.95 of premium-grade blue fin toro ahi No. 1 at Tamashiro Market on Thursday.

"It's for New Year," Lee said. "I know what I'm getting, and I know that it's good."

The market offered eight other grades of less expensive tuna.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com