Govt. to limit rockfish shipments from Fukushima

The Japanese government has restricted shipments of black rockfish from Fukushima, after a radioactive substance was found in higher than acceptable levels in a specimen caught off the prefecture.

This is the first such action by the government for fish caught off Fukushima in 14 months.

Prefectural authorities say that last week 270 becquerels of radioactive cesium were detected per kilogram of the fish, known as Kurosoi in Japan. The fish was caught at a depth of 37 meters near the city of Minamisoma on April 1.

The country's limit for cesium in general foods is set at 100 becquerels per kilogram.

In February, levels of cesium were detected over that limit in the same species caught off Fukushima.

But officials didn't detect such high levels afterwards. The government stopped short of imposing restrictions, and the prefecture continued screening.

But local fishermen stopped shipping the fish, because these levels were higher than the limit voluntarily set by a local fisheries cooperative -- 50 becquerels per kilogram.

The total haul of black rockfish in Fukushima last year was roughly three tons, which accounted for less than one percent of the total caught in trial operations off Fukushima.

The last restrictions on shipping fish from the region were lifted in February last year.