Fukushima Pref. Coastal Trawlers Start New Fishing Season; Catches Recovering, But Anxiety Over Treated Water Persists

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A local resident holds a banner as he sees off trawlers on a bridge in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, early Friday.

FUKUSHIMA — Trawl fishing began off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture on Friday for the first time since the Aug. 24 start of the ocean release of treated water from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Amid concerns about harmful rumors caused by the release of the treated water, fishermen were anxious as they set out to fish.

At dawn on Friday, the first day of the 2023 fishing season, about 20 trawlers belonging to the Soma Futaba fisheries cooperative departed from Matsukawaura fishing port in the city of Soma in the prefecture to catch octopus, anglerfish and mehikari round greeneye fish.

The cooperative’s trawl fishing haul, which fell to zero after the Great East Japan Earthquake, increased to 2,583 tons during the 2022 fishing season, which ran from September last year to June this year, recovering to 54% of pre-disaster levels.

This season, the cooperative will resume fishing off the coast of Miyagi Prefecture, where it had refrained from operation after the 2011 earthquake, with the goal of having the haul to recover to 70% of pre-disaster levels by the 2027 fishing season.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Trawlers depart a port in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, at about 2 a.m. on Friday.