26 Mars 2016
March 26, 2016
By AKIFUMI NAGAHASHI/ Staff Writer
NARAHA, Fukushima Prefecture--Thousands of juvenile salmon were released into a river here on March 26, signaling that life in this area is returning to normal after it was delisted as a nuclear disaster evacuation zone last September.
The area until the fall of last year had remained off-limits since the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Members of the local Kidogawa fishery cooperative association raised the fish at a hatchery that was destroyed by the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake-triggered tsunami and is now undergoing reconstruction.
At 11 a.m., a couple of dozen people, many of them members of the association and children of a kindergarten in Naraha, released 5,000 or so young salmon, each measuring about five centimeters, from buckets into the river. The fish swam vigorously in the direction of the sea.
It was the third time since the nuclear accident that juvenile salmon have been released into the river. On the previous two occasions, however, the fish were not locally raised but donated by out-of-town organizations.
Fishermen returned to the Kidogawa river for the first time in five years last autumn.
From the salmon they caught, they took eggs and were able to raise 1.3 million or so salmon fry. But the figure is still less than one-tenth of pre-accident levels.
“It will take 10 more years to recover pre-accident levels,” said Hideo Matsumoto, head of the association.
“I hope that the young salmon released this time will return to this river safely (to spawn),” he added.