The Environment Ministry on Monday called for an improvement in waste water processing and water quality in Nagasaki Prefecture’s Isahaya Bay ahead of the completion of a controversial land reclamation project.

In a report, the ministry responded to a project review released by Nagasaki Prefecture on Aug. 9 and written by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

The reclamation project has been criticized by local fishermen who say the project has reduced water quality and caused substandard crops of nori, an important ingredient in Japanese cuisine and often used to wrap sushi.

The Environment Ministry said it would be difficult but not impossible for water quality goals to be met in time for the project’s scheduled completion in 2006.

The ministry also called for a survey to determine the amount and effects of water released from behind the seawall, where construction is happening, into the bay, and suggested reviewing the number and location of water quality survey points.

The water quality behind the 7-km seawall is poor at present.

Ministry officials are concerned that the levels of total nitrogen, total phosphorous and chemical oxygen will not meet stated goals.

To help meet those goals, the ministry urged that more effort be made to establish water processing systems, starting with public facilities.

The ministry document also pointed out that it was not clear there had been adequate consideration of the effect of the project on creatures endemic to the bay. Further review of measures taken to protect the local ecosystem was needed, the ministry said.

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