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Aquaculture Damage Over 100 Billion

JAPAN - The Japanese aquaculture industry suffered more than 100 billion in damage, or a quarter of its annual output, from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, a survey by the fisheries ministry released on Wednesday said.

In tsunami-ravaged Iwate and Miyagi prefectures, the damage was particularly severe for oyster and "wakame" (brown seaweed) farming, the survey by the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said.

The tsunami also dealt a heavy blow to the central and southwestern prefectures of Mie, Kochi and Oita, reports The Japan Times.

The final tally is expected to be worse because some prefectural governments, including those in Ibaraki, Chiba and Fukushima prefectures, are still calculating the damages, they said.

Fishermen in various coastal regions also took damage as various species, including white salmon, red sea bream and yellowtail, either died or were lost during the tsunami-quake disaster, the officials said.

Statistics show that the aquaculture industry produced ¥409.5 billion worth of marine products in 2009.

Miyagi was in the worst shape, with damages totaling ¥51.8 billion, followed by Iwate with ¥24.2 billion and Hokkaido with ¥15.8 billion. Hokkaido's industry incurred massive financial damage to such products as scallops, sea urchin and kelp.

In Mie Prefecture, farms that cultivate pearl, red sea bream and other marine products suffered a combined ¥3.7 billion in damage, while farms in Kochi Prefecture that were raising yellowtail and other marine products lost ¥200 million.

An official close to a fishermen's association said some will have to start again from scratch.

"We also have to meet the challenge of securing funds for a range of expenses, including feed," bringing attention to the fact that fish, such as red sea bream, take two to three years before they can be shipped to market.

A fisheries cooperative federation in Ibaraki Prefecture on Wednesday demanded that ¥425 million in damages be paid by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to compensate for losses caused by radiation from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

The federation said the amount would cover damages incurred by its 460 members, including revenue lost from the fishing suspension ordered in March due to radiation leaks.

the Fish Site Editor

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