This year’s World Water Day brings fresh concerns about seafood safety in the wake of the earthquake, tsunami and radiation leaks in Japan.
Fishermen, fish buyers, and consumers on both sides of the Pacific are dealing with the ripple effects of the crisis. Addressing U.S. consumer safety concerns, the Food and Drug Administration said it was taking steps to measure radiation contamination in fish, but added, “based on current information, there is no risk to the U.S. food supply.”
Still, consumers are a fickle bunch. During the Gulf oil spill, sales of seafood from the region plummeted despite repeated statements from officials saying there was no contamination.
Taichi Kitamura, a sushi chef in Seattle, said, “Food is something you eat not only with your tongue, you eat it with your brain, so any negative news about any food products, people are very sensitive about it.”
On the export side of the equation, Japan is a large customer of fish caught in the Pacific Northwest, and the broken infrastructure is making it difficult to get fish to Japanese buyers.
The total impact of the disaster on the seafood trade will become more clear in the coming weeks, as the dust settles and we get a better picture of the damage done.
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