National

Fukushima fisheries to resume trial fishing after samples prove safe

Kyodo

Fishing operations off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture were set to resume Wednesday, about a month after leaks of contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant forced trial operations to be put on hold.

The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations said Tuesday that “through tests we know the radioactive levels of the fish are not an issue and that they are safe.”

Out of 100 fish and seafood products tested, 95 were clear of radioactive substances and the remaining five contained less than one-tenth of the government’s limit of 100 becquerels for food products, the fishing co-op said.

Operations were to resume at around 2 a.m., starting with the Soma Futaba fisheries cooperative covering the northern part of the prefecture. According to the cooperative, the catch will be put on sale as early as Thursday, with part of it to be distributed outside of Fukushima.

With Tokyo Electric Power Co. still unable to contain the contaminated water leaking into the ocean, however, it remains to be seen how receptive consumers will be to seafood from Fukushima.

Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the prefectural federation, told reporters that selling the products will be a step toward gaining acceptance from consumers.

Trial fisheries operations began roughly 15 months after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused the breakdown at Fukushima No. 1.

The trial operations limit the area that can be fished and only allow products confirmed safe to be shipped.