Will Japan’s Sushi Soon Be Radioactive?
Given the hammering Japan’s northern coastal towns took from the earthquake/tsunami, and the ongoing radiation leaks from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant, the future of fishing from the region has come into question. Just like the fishermen in the Gulf after the BP spill, seafood providers across Japan are concerned about public-relations fallout—even if its fish stays available and safe, i.e. nonradioactive.
Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, the world’s biggest—selling more than 400 species of fish six days a week, a $5.5-billion-a-year business supplying 40 million Japanese fish-lovers—has not yet backed off any species, but buyers have fallen off due to a lack of fish.
The immediate concern is that so many of the small towns in the north—and their boats, docks, jetties, nets, tackle and fishermen—are gone. Fish farms and onshore processing plants have been wiped out. Hundreds of thousands of wild fish washed onto shore, dead. Scallops, sardines, oysters, seaweed, bonito and even shark’s fin have largely disappeared from Tsukiji in the past week.
The normally packed aisles of the sprawling market—the equivalent of 200 football fields under one roof—are relatively empty of buyers. “We’re not selling anything because there are no customers,” one wholesaler reported. Renowned sushi restaurants adjacent to the market are suffering too, in part due to the lack of tourists.
The Tsukiji market’s general manager, Tsutomu Kosaka, told the New York Times, “It’s not like the brand is just damaged now—it’s over. At least for now, the brand is finished. Gone. It’s hopeless.”
(For the rest of my dispatch go to takepart.com)