SEOUL - Fear about radiation from the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan has taken a heavy toll on sales of seafood in the Republic of Korea (ROK).
At the Noryangjin fisheries wholesale market in Seoul, the loud sales pitches about fresh and cheap seafood that usually attract customers ring hollow in the face of the lack of customers.
The news that radioactive water has been pouring into the Pacific Ocean from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant has cut the number of customers even further. Fishmongers say customers are keenly sensitive about the origin of the seafood displayed.
"Lots of customers don't even dare to eat domestically caught fish. I can feel (the loss) in my bones but don't know what to do, " said a fishmonger.
Japanese pollack, used to be popular among customers, are now nowhere to be found in the market.
The troubles with the Japanese nuclear power plant have triggered the customer's tendency to buy frozen fish caught before an explosion at the nuclear plant. "After Japan's radiation leak, customers don't come even though it has been continuously said that there's no harm in eating fish," said another fishmonger.
Meanwhile, the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute said it takes nearly five years for ocean currents near Fukushima to come to ROK after circling the North Pacific Ocean, and that the country is not at a worrying stage. ROK's government has suspended the import of food from areas surrounding the Fukushima nuclear complex. It says it is screening all fishery products from Japan for radiation contamination.