Sales of seafood have plummeted in South Korea with consumers fearing its contamination following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Crippled by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima plant has had a series of problems in recent months, including radioactive water leaks from storage tanks.
The Noryangjin fish wholesale market in Seoul is one of the largest fish markets in South Korea. But, despite scores of banners promising buyers that the fish is safe, sales are dwindling. Some stalls have even had to close down.
Stall owner, Kim Byung-guk expressed concern for the state of fish sales:
“In general, South Korean people’s distrust in Japanese fishery products is very serious. Because of that, even the sale of safe domestic products is being damaged.”
In an attempt to boost sales and ease customer fear, local store the Henaro Club has set up a radiation level scanning station next to its seafood section. It allows customers to use a portable device to check the fish for radiation before they buy it.
The station is flanked by a large banner stating that the store does not sell Japanese-imported fish products.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety says imports from Japan have vastly decreased and they are doing all they can to ensure no contaminated fish enters their markets.
Lee Soo-Doo, Director of the Foreign Inspection Division of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety explained their policy:
“Currently, all fish imports from the eight prefectures neighbouring Fukushima are banned,” he said.