Tue, Mar 29, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Local fish catch safe to eat: officials

WORRIES:Officials said the radiation fallout in Japan has not contaminated Taiwan’s fish stock and strict radiation testing has been implemented to allay consumers’ fears

Staff Writer, with CNA

None of Taiwan’s fish catches have been contaminated by radioactive materials from Japan, the Atomic Energy Council said yesterday.

“Samples of fish caught around Taiwan have passed radiation tests and none of them have been found to contain abnormal radiation readings,” said Liu Wen-hsi (劉文熙), deputy director of the council’s Department of Radiation Protection.

Since Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant began leaking radiation after being damaged by the earthquake-triggered tsunami on March 11, the council has set up radiation checkpoints at fishing ports around the country, Liu told a press conference at the legislature.

“All the fish tested at various fishing harbors are radiation-free and safe to eat,” Liu said.

He made the assurances after Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Pan Men-an (潘孟安) complained that fish sales in major Taiwanese fishing towns had been stagnant since Japan’s nuclear crisis began.

“Sales of tuna and swordfish at Donggang (東港) in Pingtung County and Hsinggang (新港) in Taitung County, for instance, have declined significantly in recent days,” Pan said at the press conference.

Liu said consumers need not worry about fish contamination. Even if the damaged nuclear plant had leaked radiation into Japanese waters, radioactive substances would not flow southward to Taiwan because the Kuroshio current moves in a northward direction.

Feng Ren-lan (馮潤蘭), a deputy section chief at the Food and Drug Administration, said the nation’s radiation risk control system has been in operation since March 14.

“Select food items, including fish, have since been subjected to strict radiation tests. The government has also banned food imports from five Japanese prefectures near the Fukushima complex since March 25,” Feng said.

Fisheries Agency chief secretary Hsu Han-ching (許漢卿) said the agency had been closely monitoring the movement of Taiwanese fishing vessels since the outbreak of the crisis.

None of Taiwan’s fishing boats have operated within 1,000km of Fukushima Prefecture, Hsu said.

Pan asked the department to publish radiation test results on fresh fish catches regularly to alleviate public misgivings about radiation contamination.

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