Ibaraki fishermen go after whitebait for first time since nuclear disaster

JIJI

Whitebait fishing resumed in the northern part of Ibaraki Prefecture on Tuesday for the first time since it was voluntarily halted due to the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis.

Two fishermen’s cooperatives in Kitaibaraki and one in Hitachi resumed catching whitebait, their main product, some two years and two months after the accident at the stricken Tokyo Electric Power Co. nuclear plant north of Ibaraki.

The cooperatives refrained from whitebait fishing as shipments were suspended for other fish due to radioactive contamination.

A total of 27 small fishing boats left Otsu port in Kitaibaraki early Tuesday. Some 5.5 tons of whitebait were landed and distributed to processing companies by the three cooperatives.

After radiation checks, the dried whitebait will be put on the market.

Yoshinori Sakamoto, a senior official of the Otsu fishermen’s cooperative, said they won’t be back on track until regular whitebait sales restart.