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Fukushima fisheries industry taking 1st steps to full recovery

  • April 2, 2021
  • , Jiji Press , 1:20 p.m.
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Namie, Fukushima Pref., April 2 (Jiji Press)–The fisheries industry in Fukushima Prefecture, northeastern Japan, has begun operations to increase catches with the aim of bringing them back in years to come to levels prior to the nuclear accident that hit the prefecture a decade ago.
   The move comes as fisheries products caught off the coast of Fukushima have been confirmed safe through continuous radioactivity tests and the safety confirmation allowed local fishermen to have the prospect of sales at stable prices even if the volume of catches is increased.
   The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations hopes to resume full operations in a few years.
   Restrictions had been placed on fisheries activity in the area after Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s <9501> Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant suffered a triple meltdown following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
   In June the following year, Fukushima fishermen began trial operations on a limited basis to assess the effects of safety-related harmful rumors about Fukushima fisheries products. Their total fish hauls in 2020 stood at under 20 pct of levels prior to the nuclear accident.
   The trial operation period ended last month, but the industry plans to continue radioactivity checks for the time being to promote the safety of Fukushima fisheries products to consumers.
   The Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative in Fukushima has drawn up a plan to increase catches to around 60 pct of predisaster levels by 2025. Meanwhile, the fisheries industry in Fukushima, faced with the reality of itself weakening over the more than eight years of the trial operations, is pressed to rebuild distribution routes and nurture fishermen of the next generation.
   At the Ukedo fishing port in the town of Namie, Fukushima, many fishing boats returned Thursday carrying flounders and rockfish, which are currently in season, for sale at markets in the prefecture.
   “We want to increase days of operations to deliver even fresher fish,” a fisheries cooperative official said.

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