Miyagi Prefecture’s famed raw oysters are making a return to menus for the first time in more than two years, breathing life once again to a struggling industry.
Fishermen in the Oura district resumed shipments of the shellfish on Tuesday after years of rebuilding the industry deeply affected by the earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Local workers began shucking 200 kilograms of oysters that were landed a day earlier at a processing plant completed in May. The shellfish, homegrown in Miyagi are generally small and prized for their delicate taste.
“At long last,” said third-generation fish culture worker Yoshihiro Komatsu. “We’ve waited a long time for this moment.”
Radioactive fallout from the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant found its way to the seas, contaminating the local seafood industry, including oyster beds in the areas.
Local fishermen sought to rebuild the plant as radiation in areas were deemed safe by authorities.
The devastating earthquake and tsunami left thousands of homes and industries destroyed. The region’s seafood industry was also badly hit by the disaster which triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Several tons of radioactive water was reportedly leaking into the ocean, igniting contamination fears.
By Maesie Bertumen
Image: hirotomo t/Flickr