The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Business

June 25, 2012

Fukushima seafood on sale for first time since nuclear disaster

LOS ANGELES — For the first time since Japan’s nuclear disaster last year, seafood caught off the Fukushima coastline is being sold in local markets to test customer demand.

On Monday, two types of octopus and one variety of marine snail deemed clear of radioactive cesium were on sale, often at deep discounts, according to the Fukushima Prefecture fishing cooperative.

Contamination worries still persist concerning fish, which aren’t yet ready for consumption, according to Japanese media reports.

The seafood was offered at two supermarkets in the city of Soma at prices 30 percent to 40 percent cheaper than before the disaster, according to the Mainichi Shimbun daily newspaper. The octopus was described by one customer as “soft and very tasty.”

After a devastating earthquake and tsunami hit the nation on March 11, 2011, three reactors went into meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, causing a radiation leak.

The local fishing industry saw annual sales plunge more than 85 percent, to 1.63 billion yen - or $20.5 million - last year, from 10.96 billion yen the year before, according to the Japan Times.

Last month, scientists reported signs of radioactivity in tuna captured in the Pacific, which they linked to the Fukushima disaster.

 

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