The salmon run in northeastern Japan this autumn will likely plummet by 40 percent compared with last year due to damage to hatcheries caused by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The Fisheries Research Agency said Sept. 9 the sharp decline in returning salmon to spawn in the Tohoku region will impact the economy of the disaster-stricken region. The price of salmon roe–a delicacy–is bound to rise, sources said.
Millions of salmon fry are released from hatcheries to rivers each spring. The adult fish generally return three and a half years later to the rivers where they were released.
The salmon expected to return this year were released shortly after the disaster.
Many hatcheries located at the mouths of rivers were destroyed, killing the fry.
The agency estimates that the number of salmon returning to the region this fiscal year could drop to 5.3 million, down from last year’s 8.9 million.
In fiscal 2011, the salmon catch was also down by 40 percent.
Salmon account for 30 percent of Iwate Prefecture’s fishery products.
“The situation this year will have a huge impact on the local economy,” said Toyomitsu Horii, an official at the agency’s Tohoku National Research Institute.
Salmon is mainly consumed locally in Tohoku as “aramaki sake” (lightly salted salmon).
A lack of roe and of juvenile fish could lead to decline in the number of salmon over the long run, officials cautioned.