It will be the first time in two and a half years since the start of the nuclear accident on March 11, 2011 that fishermen in Iwaki City in southern Fukushima will fish on a "trial" basis.
Also, the fishery association in Soma City, 48 kilometers north of Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant, will resume its "trial fishing".
When I first read the Kyodo News (9/25/2013) below, it somehow did not occur to me that the fish caught would be sold to the market. I was lulled by the word "trial", and totally forgot that the fishery association in Soma City was selling the fish that they caught in their trial fishing.
In Japanese terminology, a "trial fishing" only means "it is not full operation", whether it is in terms of the number of fishing boats or the number of fish allowed or the number of species allowed. It is a commercial operation in which fishermen are allowed to sell their catch.
First, from Kyodo News on the Soma City fishery association:
Trial fishing in Fukushima resumes, fishery association head says "we'll show our determination"
Soma/Futaba Fishery Association in northern Fukushima resumed the trial fishing on September 25, as about 20 fishing boats started leaving the Matsukawaura Port (Soma City) at 2AM. The trial fishing was halted because of the contaminated water problem at FUkushima I Nuclear Power Plant. The boats are due to return in the afternoon with their catch.
Hiroyuki Sato, head of the association, told the fishermen before leaving port, "We will have to continue trial fishing to show out determination to TEPCO, the national government, and people in general that 'we are aiming at full operation'."
Masayoshi Hamauchi (age 58), shipowner of Suijin-maru said, "I'm happy to be able to fish. I'm still worried about baseless rumors but we want to show our determination, one step at a time."
While Kyodo News is vague about "trial fishing" (or assumes everyone knows that the fish caught will be sold), Fukushima's local paper Kahoku Shinpo (9/25/2013) makes it clear for us:
The Fishery Association of Fukushima Prefecture held a meeting of association heads on September 24 in Fukushima City, and decided that the Iwaki City fishery association will start trial fishing on October 3. It will be the first trial fishing in the southern Fukushima. It was also decided that the Soma-Futaba fishery association (in Soma City) will resume on September 25.
The decisions were made because the safety [of the catch] was ascertained after the Fukushima prefectural government and TEPCO tested radioactive materials in marine products and ocean water. For now, the Iwaki City fishery association will only catch 16 species including Chlorophthalmus borealis and Enteroctopus dofleini. Monitoring [sampling] tests will be conducted, and if there is no problem [below the national safety standard] they will ship and sell the catch.
Shoichi Yabuki, head of the Iwaki City fishery association, said, "We've been waiting for this trial fishing for two and a half years. We want TEPCO to install thorough countermeasures against contaminated water."
After two and a half years since the accident, fishermen in Fukushima are finally joining farmers in Fukushima - just blame fickle consumers for not buying their stuff.
If consumers have no means of knowing whether the fish they buy at supermarkets are from off the coast of Fukushima, there will be no baseless rumors anyway.