Fishermen harvesting green laver on full scale in Soma, delayed 2 months by typhoon

18 March 2020

The harvesting of green laver, a specialty in the Matsukawaura lagoon in Soma city, has got into full swing in the third year of test operations after being suspended for a lengthy period following the 2011 nuclear accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.'s Fukushima Daiichi plant. Green laver harvesting usually begins in December and peaks in mid-January, but growth of the seaweed has been uneven this season, depending on location in the lagoon in the wake of a devastating typhoon and downpours last year.

Harvesting became possible in mid-January, with hauls reaching peak levels in March at long last -- two months later than last season. Braving the aftermath of the disaster, local fishermen remain unswerving, saying they "would like to produce high-quality dried green laver."

On the early morning of March 17, Hiroyasu Kusano, 81, and his 50-year-old son Makoto boarded a small boat in the Matsukawaura district of the Soma-Futaba Fisheries Cooperative Association and, basking in sunlight, harvested green laver grown on nets using a vacuum-like machine. On that day, 13 boats operated, hauling in a combined total of 752 kilograms of green laver. The crop was subjected to testing for detection of radioactive substances and dehydrated for delivery to brokers.

Harvesting is conducted a few times per week until the end of April. Due to the delayed start, total hauls in the season are likely to be smaller than usual, according to cooperative officials.

(Translated by Kyodo News)