For the first time, Japan's top producer of cultivated nori seaweed has been unable to choose the highest-quality product due to a poor harvest.
The southwestern prefecture of Saga and a local fishery cooperative have, since 2007, chosen the best nori to be included in a special seaweed brand.
On Monday, officials were due to select the best nori harvested in the second half of the season that started in early January.
But the selection was canceled because no nori was found to be of sufficient quality to be a candidate.
A red tide in the Ariake Sea and limited rain reduced the nutrient content of the seawater, which affected the quality of the nori.
The selection of quality nori in the first half of the season was also canceled in December.
Prefectural officials said the inability to select the best products was regrettable. They added they will work with nori harvesters to improve the Ariake Sea environment.