A snow crab caught in the western Japan prefecture of Tottori attracted the highest-ever bid for a crab at auction of 5 million yen ($46,000), the prefecture said Thursday.

The Itsukiboshi high-end crab weighing 1.24 kilograms with a 14.6-centimeter shell was caught after the fishing season began in the region at midnight Tuesday. It was sold at the season's first auction in the port of Tottori city.

The successful bidder was local crab seller Kanemasa Hamashita Shoten. It paid 2 million yen at last year's first auction for an Itsukiboshi crab. The bid price at the time was recognized by the Guinness World Records as the highest ever for a crab.

(The snow crab that fetched 5 million yen)

"We came to this year's first auction hoping that we would bid the world's highest price again," a company official said. "I believe it is a good crab filled with meat."

The crab will be sold to a restaurant in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district, the company said.

The prefecture adopted stricter rules on the size and the amount of the crabs that can be caught from Dec. 10 last year after the catch nearly surpassed the total allowable amount allocated for the prefecture last fishing season due to fair weather.

To prevent overfishing, fishing operators will have more holidays this season and avoid catching small crabs, the prefecture said.

The season's first auction held in the town of Shinonsen, Hyogo Prefecture in western Japan on Wednesday saw a bid of 3 million yen for a snow crab weighing 1.2 kg.

Related coverage:

Bunch of red Japanese grapes sold for $11,000 at auction

Hokkaido melons fetch record $45,500 at season's 1st auction

Western Japan city begins square-watermelon shipments