Tradition is coming at a higher cost this year, after all, what’s a New Year’s celebration without sashimi and poke? One expert tells us the price is a bit higher than last year, but we found people are still willing to pay a pretty penny.

It’s been a busy day of cutting, wrapping, and buying fresh fish. Guy Tamashiro of Tamashiro’s Market says he has a lot of medium grade ahi that the boats brought in but very few premiums like the bigeye tuna. 

“It got off to a slow start right after Christmas. The catch was just average, nothing for the holidays. The last two days we had a good amount which helps,” said Tamashiro. 

We’re told as soon as Christmas ended ahi prices bumped up, even a little more than last year.  

“It’s because of the demand right now for New Year’s, a lot of people do eat ahi,” said Seafood Director Derek Iha of Times Supermarket. “We are looking at maybe from last year maybe about $3 or $4 more per pound than last year.”

That doesn’t seem to stop these fresh fish enthusiasts. Customers we spoke to say family tradition trumps price when it comes to celebrating the new year.

“I like the taste. My family likes it, so even my son Zachery he’s only in 8th grade but he can tell. He may not know the names, but he can tell when he tastes it he says ‘Oh I like this better than that one’ and he can usually tell which is the one that costs more,” said Nolan Zane. 

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be ahi.

“The onaga is usually one of the special New Year fish. It’s a red fish,” said Cynthia Uchiyama. “It’s not how much it is. Some years it’s cheaper, some years it’s more expensive but it’s a thing we need to have is the onaga fish.”

“I think what’s important though is we have the young kids and they don’t know the tradition. So it’s kind of nice that she still does it so they hopefully carry on the tradition,” adds Patty Schorn. 

We’re told that fish prices may go up a bit after New Year’s Day because the fish auction is closed for the majority of the week.