Fishermen in Fukushima's Soma-Futaba area land first post-quake stone flounder haul

2 February 2017

Fishermen from the Soma-Futaba Fisheries Cooperative Association hauled in "ishigarei" stone flounder in test catches off Fukushima Prefecture on Feb. 1 for the first time since the 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The central government lifted restrictions on the shipment of stone flounder -- one of the main fish species caught off Fukushima -- in January and the fish was added to a list of species covered by test fishing operations at a meeting of the chiefs of fishery cooperatives in the prefecture. A total of 37 small fishing boats belonging to the Soma-Futaba cooperative caught ishigarei by gill nets and landed their catches at fishing ports in the region, including Matsukawaura fishing port in Soma city. The first ishigarei catch in almost six years sparked a flurry of activity in the port, with fisheries market officials sizing up the fish.

According to the cooperative, the day's total haul was about 83 kilograms. After being confirmed safe through radioactivity tests, all ishigarei were distributed to markets in and outside Fukushima.

According to the prefectural government, the average annual catch of the fish in the pre-disaster years of 2006 to 2010 was 441 tons, worth 297 million yen.

(Translated by Kyodo News)