First catches land as Fukushima fishing tests end

Fishermen in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima have landed their first catches after the end of test fishing that followed the 2011 nuclear accident.

Fishermen had limited the amounts and types of marine products they caught under the test operations, as well as the frequency of fishing. They shipped catches that passed sample safety tests for radioactive substances, to assess market reactions.

Fishermen began expanding volumes of catches on Thursday. They plan to increase catches in stages over several years, and resume normal operations at levels seen before the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Ships that docked at one of the ports in Iwaki City landed their first catches after the end of the test fishing. Flatfish, anglerfish, and other marine products were put up for auction.

A fisherman said he was concerned the market for fish caught off Fukushima might be weak partly because the number of wholesalers in the prefecture has been falling since the nuclear accident. But he says he wants to boost catches to help the local fisheries industry recover.