Namie, Fukushima Pref. – A fish market in the Pacific coastal town of Namie in Fukushima prefecture has reopened for the first time since it was devastated by the tsunami and the nuclear disaster of March 2011.
The Ukedo Regional Wholesale Market, which reopened on Wednesday, was the first market to resume operations in an area formerly known as the no-go zone following the unprecedented triple merger of the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant. Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. in Fukushima.
The market was filled with energetic voices from fishermen and middlemen as it held its first auction in about nine years.
“Nine years have been a long time and I am so happy that I am in tears,” said Ichiro Takano, director of the local fisherman’s cooperative.
“Sales are below normal due to the effects of the new coronavirus, but I am waiting for the market to reopen,” said Keiji Sato, a 73-year-old fisherman from the nearby town of Minamisoma.
The plaice and monkfish marketed were quickly delivered to local large-scale supermarkets.
“I hope the fact that locals eat fresh fish will help revitalize the area,” said a market official.
Before the reopening, fishermen operating in the region brought their catch to a market in Soma, also in the prefecture.
Twenty small fishing boats affiliated with Namie and neighboring ports are now expected to bring their catches to the Ukedo market, which suggests an increase in catch volumes and an increase in fish consumption in the areas hit by the disasters of 2011.
The facilities at the port and the fishing market in Ukedo were swept away by the tsunami and the inhabitants were forced to evacuate due to the nuclear accident.
The evacuation order was lifted in spring 2017 and the construction of new ports and markets was completed in October last year.