Sashimi. (Photo: Chensiyuan/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Fisheries Agency seeks to banish fears over radioactive fish
Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 04:20 (GMT + 9)
The Fisheries Agency of Japan invited the media to tour a research facility in Onjuku, Chiba Prefecture, in an effort to address the concerns of Japanese and foreigners around possible radioactive contamination of fish from the country waters.
These fears are a result of the accident suffered by the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami rocked Japan.
The visit attracted foreign journalists and embassy officials, and was aimed at showing the monitoring process that is carried out to ensure that the fish is safe for consumption, reported The Japan Times.
The tests not only are applied to the fish that remain in the area, but also to those who travel long distances, to seasonal species that are popular with consumers and especially groundfish, since radioactive materials tend to settle on the ocean floor.
If fish samples exceed the safety limit, the species caught in the same area are not sent to markets.
However, there is a feeling that this initiative is carried out rather late.
“I was surprised to know that this is the first tour. It’s been almost three years from the nuclear accident,” said Andres Sanchez Braun, a reporter at EFE news agency.
There are also doubts about the process of supervision. For example, each province has its own inspection programme. For example, each prefecture has its own survey programme, but there was no clarification regarding unified standards and methods to carry out the tests.
Currently, the central government asks the prefectures of Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba, to test fish caught in the Pacific and each prefecture draws up a monitoring regimen based on guidelines.