NaturalNews) Japan used to account for 15 percent of global fish catches, but now, nearly three years after the earthquake and subsequent tsunami which struck Fukushima’s Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in March 2011, sales are plummeting in Fukushima and the surrounding prefectures, as the world focuses intently on radiation levels mounting in the Pacific Ocean’s sea life.
The Japanese government-affiliated Fisheries Research Agency just announced on January 10th that it had caught a black seabream fish contaminated with 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium – an amount 124 times higher than the safety standard. Two other black seabreams were found to breach the 100 Bq/kg limit at 426 Bq/kg and 197 Bq/kg.
Stories like this only confirm that Fukushima radiation is not decreasing but continuing to accumulate. Five prefectures which catch some 40,000 tons of fish every year appear to be directly affected by Fukushima, and taking radiation measurements after a catch has become just a routine part of fishing there now. Fish being caught in the waters around Fukushima are still dangerously contaminated with high levels of radiation, and the majority of these catches get destroyed rather than end up in a market or a restaurant.
In an interview, economist Hirokai Kurosaki told RT, “Most of the fish caught within the 30 kilometer radius is thrown into the garbage because it is radiated. And TEPCO is paying to local fishermen for it, so that they’re happy and keep silent on that.”
Plummeting seafood sales
Although consumers were reportedly just starting to trust the system enough to buy seafood again, Japan’s fishing industry took another big hit when the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) finally admitted in Summer 2013 that 300 tons of irradiated groundwater had been flowing out into the ocean every day and that it had been, potentially the whole time, since the disaster struck in March 2011. In addition, Michio Aoyama, senior researcher at the geochemical research department of the Meteorological Research Institute, recently reported that some 60 billion becquerels of cesium-137 and strontium-90 are being discharged into the Pacific Ocean from the ditch at the north end of the reactors every single day.
Japanese seafood fears are spreading to other countries as well. In South Korea, fish imports from all eight prefectures surrounding Fukushima have been completely banned. Seoul’s Noryangjin fish market, one of South Korea’s largest, has had to put up banners imploring skittish customers that the fish sold there is safe to eat. Despite the promises, sales are still slumping. Even South Korean fish sales have begun dwindling, Korean fish market stall owner Kim Byung-guk told Euronews.