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[Hidden Wonders of Japan] Trawl Fishing in Fukushima Sees Abundant Catch on First Day

Fukushima saw a successful start to the trawl fishing season, with a nearly 20-ton catch and energetic bidding from eager buyers.

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Matsukawaura Fishing Port in Soma, Fukushima on September 1. (©Kyodo)

On September 1, the trawl fishing season reopened in Fukushima Prefecture. Trawl fishing is one of the primary fishing methods in the region. Trawlers unloaded a total of 19.8 tons of Fukushima's premium seafood, including flounder and octopus, at Matsukawaura Fishing Port in Soma.

Fresh fish at the Matsukawaura Fishing Port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture on September 1. (©Kyodo)

Japan began releasing treated water from its damaged nuclear plant into the sea in August. Since then, Japan's fisheries agency has been conducting daily tests on fish off the coast of Fukushima.

In Fukushima Prefecture, the fishery cooperative has been voluntarily testing fish for radioactive cesium since June 2012, a year after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. This is also when bottom trawling resumed on a trial basis. According to the Soma Futaba Fisheries Cooperative, no radioactive cesium was detected in the 52 species that landed at the port on September 1.

Fishing boats head out to sea in the early morning of September 1 from the Matsukawaura Fishing Port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture. (©Kyodo)

Preventing Reputational Damage

"We're relieved that there have only been a few negative reactions in Japan," said Eitatsu Kikuchi. He is the captain of the Hoe Maru, which unloaded about 1.3 tons of fish.

Eitatsu Kikuchi, Captain of "Hoei Maru" at the Matsukawaura Fishing Port in Soma on September 1. (©Kyodo)

However, Kikuchi also emphasized the need to be vigilant about future reputational damage. He said, "It's absolutely essential that we continue to ensure that there are no abnormalities in the seawater around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant."

Fishers unload their catch at the Matsukawaura Fishing Port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture on the afternoon of September 1. (©Kyodo)

By around noon, the port was packed with fresh seafood. Buyers inspected the products and began bidding energetically.

According to the fishery cooperative officials, seafood prices have generally remained stable.


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(Read the article in Japanese.)

Author: The Sankei Shimbun