President of sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai, Kiyoshi Kimura (R), displays a 278kg bluefin tuna at his main restaurant in Tokyo on 5 January 2019. Picture: AFP
Tokyo - A Japanese sushi tycoon has paid a record $3.1 million for a giant tuna at an auction here.

Self-styled "Tuna King" Kiyoshi Kimura bought the 278 kilogram bluefin tuna, which is an endangered species, the BBC reported on Saturday.

Wholesalers and sushi company owners often pay high prices for the best fish at the first pre-dawn auction of the New Year.

Bluefin tuna are an endangered species, as per the World Wildlife Fund.

In December, Japan announced it will restart commercial whaling and would withdraw from the International Whaling Commission (IWC), which banned commercial whaling in 1986 after some species were driven almost to extinction.

There have been mixed reactions from social media: