The tested octopuses were boiled so that they would last longer. (Photo: Stock File)
Seafood caught off Fukushima finally goes back on sale
Tuesday, June 26, 2012, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
Fukushima Prefecture-based octopus and shellfish are finally going on sale at supermarkets in Fukushima this week for the first time since the outbreak of the nuclear disaster in March 2011. The products first passed radioactive tests conducted by the city of Soma’s fishing association and the results and fishing locations were displayed at two supermarkets in Soma operated by York Benimaru, where the seafood was sold.
The seafood was caught during trial fishing off Fukushima Prefecture by a local fishers' cooperative in the Soma and Futaba districts on 22 June. A fleet of six trawlers departed on 20 June and brought back 500 kg of squid and shellfish which were later tested for cesium.
The seafood was boiled so it would last longer while getting tested. The Fukushima Prefectural fishing co-operative said the amount of radioactive cesium was so low that it was not detectable, The Associated Press reports.
Octopus and whelk were chosen for the first test shipment because they successfully passed the radiation test. In contrast, flounder, sea bass and other fish caught off Fukushima still cannot be sold because it was found to contain radiation contamination.
Another round of trial fishing off Fukushima will take place later this week; those catches will be sent to retailers outside the prefecture as well.
Notably, the prices of the marine products were some 30 to 40 per cent cheaper than they were before March 2011, Mainichi Japan reports.
"We can offer the products with assurance because we've conducted our own testing," said a senior York Benimaru official in charge of fresh fish products. "We'd like to lend a hand as it marks the first step toward recovering the fishing industry in Fukushima Prefecture."
Prefectural health officials assured that seafood will be put on sale only if it is found to meet the government’s safety standards of less than 50 becquerels per kg of radioactive cesium. In addition, supermarket operators are allegedly running their own testing, Japan Today reports.
- Radioactive cesium entering food chain in waters off Iwaki
- 'Harmless' radiation found off Japanese coast
By Natalia Real