economy, fishing, kesennuma, livelihood, ofunato

Disaster-hit fish markets open new year with hope, asahi, 1/5/12

It seemed like business as usual, at a fish market in Miyagi Prefecture’s Kesennuma port, as freshly caught bigeye tuna and sharks were unloaded from four fishing boats on Jan. 4.

However, this fish market was among many in areas hit hard by a tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11. How successful would these once bustling markets be as they ran their first trading and auction sales in the new year on Jan. 4?

At Kesennuma, which recorded the nation’s largest catches last year of bonitos for 15 straight years, bigeye tuna were fetching a maximum of 5,010 yen ($65) per kilogram, bringing smiles and sighs of relief to fish sellers and others involved in the market.

“Prices are higher than usual,” a seller said.

“We could feel the growing strength of Kesennuma and our port,” the head of the Kesennuma fishery association said. “We will continue to fight, day to day, for further recovery.”

Fishery people at the Ofunato fish market in Iwate Prefecture’s Ofunato were even more optimistic.

“We had to support each other last year to move forward (from the March 11 disaster), but we will make more aggressive moves this year (toward further business growth),” one said.

Sagittated calamari, salmon and flatfish, all caught mainly using fixed fishing nets, were auctioned off en masse at the Ofunato market on Jan. 4.

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About liz

from the u.s., recently moved from kobe to sendai, japan, researching community-based housing recovery after disaster.

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