Sales are shrinking in South Korea’s fish markets despite scores of banners promising buyers that it is perfectly safe to eat local fish. The dramatic decline has even forced some stalls to close down. The reluctance to buy seafood follows the Seoul government’s ban two months ago on all fish imports from eight prefectures in nearby Japan surrounding the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Industry analysts say although the ban is meant to reassure South Koreans local fish are safe, after radioactive water from the plant was found to have leaked into the sea, it’s been doing the opposite -hurting sales from large department stores to small neighborhood shops.
Stores are doing all they can to ease fears. They are allowing shoppers to use a portable radiation level checker to inspect fish - like this major retailer. They are also offering promotional events and huge discounts.
But with nagging worries like those of false labeling of seafood by distributors, it may take much more to convince South Koreans that eating local fish is safe.