Fukushima Fish Set to Hit Japan Supermarkets

Seafood caught off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture returned to supermarkets on a trial basis for the first time following revelations that water contaminated by contact with the disabled nuclear power plant had leaked into the sea.

On Wednesday 21 fishing boats unloaded at Matsukawaura Port in Soma in northern Fukushima Prefecture 5.2 tons of catch including octopus, horsehair crab, blackbelly rosefish, angler and 7 other varieties of fish. The boats were participating in a resumption of a trial operation by the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association that had been suspended for nearly a month after Tepco admitted to the leakage of radioactive water from the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant.

The catch was screened for radioactivity before going on sale Thursday at various participating supermarkets and other retailers. The trial is as much about testing the response of consumers to seafood from the Fukushima region as well as the actual level of radiation contamination in the catch.

“I felt good when I went fishing, but I’m concerned whether the catches will find buyers,” said the captain of one of the fishing boats participating in the trial. “I want consumers to feel secure and eat the products as we will only ship them after screening them strictly.”

“We can only earn a living on the sea,” said an official with the Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative. “We had come to a standstill, but we will move forward toward full-scale fishing.”

Two and a half years after the March 11, 2011 tsunami triggered the crisis at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant the prefecture’s local fishing industry is eager to begin trial operations. One in Iwaki in southern Fukushima Prefecture will resume fishing on October 3 for the first time since the crisis began.