Season’s first bonito catch landed at Onahama port in Iwaki

14 May 2017

Fishermen landed the season’s first catch of skipjack tuna, or bonito, at Onahama fishing port in Iwaki city, Fukushima Prefecture, on the morning of May 13. The port was bustling and lively as the early summer delicacy arrived while efforts are under way to rebuild fishing ports elsewhere in the prefecture badly damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

About 4 tons of bonito caught on May 12 off Kashima, Ibaraki Prefecture, were hauled in by the Soho Maru No. 26, a carrier for a purse seine fishing fleet based in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture. The fish weighed about 2 kilograms each, medium to small in size, and were sorted out at the Onahama fish market. “The fish are rich in fat,” said Shigeru Murakami, 61-year-old skipper of the boat. “Bonito are moving north earlier than usual.” The first haul of the season was more than 20 days earlier than usual.

The fish fetched 393 yen to 559 yen per kilogram in an auction at the market, where they were tested for radioactive content. As all were found below a detectable limit, they were sold from the same day at supermarkets and other retail outlets in the city.

“Hauls in Onahama by fishing boats from outside the prefecture have declined since the (2011) nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi plant,” said Takayuki Yagiuchi, a 50-year-old board member of the Onahama Trawl Fisheries Cooperative Association which runs the market. “We hope ships from both within and outside the prefecture will bring in bonito.”

(Translated by Kyodo News)