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Snow crab sells for record-breaking $46,000 in Japan

A “five shining star” snow crab was auctioned off in Tottori, Japan for a whopping 5 million yen ($46,000) on November 7.

It’s the highest-ever price paid for a snow crab, according to the Tottori prefecture’s fishery promotion division, which was in charge of the auction.

The coveted crustacean was a male, weighing 1.2 kg (2.7 pounds) and measuring 14.6 cm (5.74 inches) wide.

The bid smashes the previous Guinness world record holding snow crab sale of 2 million yen ($18,000), which was set last year — also in Tottori.

This week’s winning bidder was Tetsuji Hamashita, president of fishery wholesaler Hanashita Shoten.

The 5 million yen snow crab will end up on a few lucky diners’ plates at an upscale restaurant in Tokyo’s posh Ginza neighborhood.

“I know it’s extreme. But it’s the custom,” Hamashita told CNN. “But I am sure the taste of the crab matches the price.”

This year’s snow crab hunting season began on Wednesday, November 6, with the first auction — dubbed the “festive quotation market” — taking place the following day.

While it’s typical for prices to start high on opening day — auction goers believe it’s auspicious to buy the first and best catch of the season — Hamashita said he expected the winning bid to be closer to 3 million yen.

According to the organizers, auction attendees were surprised by the price as well, with many shouting “banzai” (an auspicious cheer meaning “long life”) and applauding.

Snow crab, a highly-sought-after delicacy in Japan, is found in the waters off Tottori prefecture, on Japan’s main island of Honshu, between Osaka and Hiroshima.

Called zuwaigani in Japanese, snow crabs are traditionally harvested during colder months.

The “five shining star” nickname comes from the crab’s shape, but also its high quality: long legs, fat and solid meat filling and rich creamy innards.

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