Japan's fishing industry crippled from 2011 disaster

Featured Japan - March 12th, 2013

The devastation that struck Japan two years ago left a lasting impact on the country’s teeming fishing industry, especially in hardest-hit Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima prefectures.

Before the quake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, the fishing industry across the three worst-hit prefectures served as the primary livelihood of the people and provided jobs for 22,900 people in 2007. Now, the number employed within the industry stands at 9,200, a 60% drop, according to the national employment survey conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications in October 2012.

The fisheries’ decline was greatest in Miyagi Prefecture. The aftermath carved out 70% of workers from its once-vibrant fishing industry, leaving just 2,800 employed compared to 11,100 in 2007.

In Iwate Prefecture, the figure was down 50% to 5,000 workers from 9,900 while Fukushima Prefecture currently employs 1,400 workers, down from 1,900 in 2007.

The seafood processing industry was badly hit, too. The total number of people working in the manufacturing industry, including marine-product processing plants, stood at 431,100 in the three prefectures, 85,000 less than five years ago.

Japan is marking the second anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the nuclear disaster in 2011. More than 18,000 people were killed or went missing in the devastation with tens of thousands of families displaced after entire communities were washed away.