TOKYO (AP) — The first seafood caught off Japan’s Fukushima coastline since last year’s nuclear disaster went on sale Monday, but the offerings were limited to octopus and marine snails because of persisting fears about radiation.
Octopus and whelk, a kind of marine snail, were chosen for the initial shipments because testing for radioactive cesium consistently measured no detectable amounts, according to the Fukushima Prefectural (state) fishing cooperative. They were caught Friday and boiled so they last longer while being tested for radiation before they could be sold Monday.
Flounder, sea bass and other fish from Fukushima can’t be sold yet because of contamination. It was unclear when they will be approved for sale as they measure above the limit in radiation set by the government. The government is testing for radioactive iodine as well, but its half-life is shorter than cesium and thus is less worrisome.
“It was crisp when I bit into it, and it tasted so good,” said Yasuhiro Yoshida, who oversees the seafood section at York Benimaru supermarket in Soma, which sold out of about 30 kilograms (65 pounds) of the snails and 40 kilograms (90 pounds) of the octopus that had been shipped to the store.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami last year left the coastlines of northeastern Japan devastated, and displaced tens of thousands of people. Entire towns were contaminated by the radiation leaking from Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, where three reactors went into meltdowns.