The Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market said today that the Tsukiji fish market will bar all sightseers from its popular tuna auctioning area from December 1 to January 22 to ensure that auction activities can be conducted smoothly.
According to market officials, the measure was introduced because activities such as flash photography on the part of some tourists disturbed tuna middlemen and the area will be particularly crowded around the New Year due to an upsurge in tuna transactions.
However, sightseers will be allowed to visit area restaurants.
Japanese fisheries authorities have become concerned that the pictures of thousands of bluefin tuna transactions illustrate just how large the exploitation of these fish really is.
The bluefin tuna is heading towards extinction and this translates into increasing demand in Japan.