Shipments of green laver seaweed from Fukushima resume after seven-year hiatus

JIJI

Shipments of green laver from Fukushima Prefecture restarted Monday for the first time in about seven years.

Radiation levels for the green laver, a kind of seaweed, were confirmed to be far below the government limit despite concern about contamination due to the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, officials said.

About 740 kilograms of green laver harvested Monday at aqua farms near Matsukawaura fishing port in the city of Soma was delivered to a local processing plant after being dehydrated to remove pebbles and other objects.

Fukushima was a major production area for green laver until the March 2011 tsunami caused major damage to local aqua farms and the port. The Fukushima product is used mainly for ramen and tsukudani (preserved foods), boiled down in soy sauce.

“Matsukawaura green laver features a good scent,” said Yuichi Okamura, a 62-year-old member of a local fisheries cooperative. “It’s as beautiful as before the disaster.”

Green laver from the prefecture is expected to be available only locally for the time being, as farming it will be on a trial basis for now.

Following the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear crisis, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations refrained from coastal fishery operations.

The test farming, carried out by local fishermen, is taking place more than 10 kilometers from the crippled nuclear plant.