Photo/IllutrationFishery operators pinch their noses as they dispose of ‘tai’ (porgy) fish on Sept. 13 that were killed in Typhoon No. 15 in Kyonan, Chiba Prefecture. (Tomomi Terasawa)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

MINAMI-BOSO, Chiba Prefecture--Tons of seafood, including expensive delicacies for gourmet dishes, have been thrown away because of the prolonged power outage caused by Typhoon No. 15.

The Chiba prefectural government said typhoon-related damage to marine products totaled about 139 million yen ($ 1.28 million) as of Sept. 13, but the number is expected to increase.

The typhoon hit the Kanto region on Sept. 9, but many parts of Chiba Prefecture, particularly in the south, remain without power.

At a facility of Higashi-Awa fishery cooperatives in Minami-Boso, Chiba Prefecture, staff noticed an awful stench emanating from the fish preserves after the typhoon passed.

They found about 2 tons of “sazae” (turban shell), 1.5 tons of “ise-ebi” (Japanese spiny lobster) and 400 kilograms of “awabi” (abalone) rotting inside the preserves by Sept. 14.

The facility is located on the southernmost tip of the Boso Peninsula, one of the areas hardest hit by the typhoon.

The subsequent blackout halted machines that pump seawater into the fish preserves and keep the water temperature low.

The cooperatives immediately back-ordered two generators, but it was too little too late to save all the seafood awaiting shipment.

“We preserved them in order to maintain their freshness, but most of them were spoiled,” one staff member said.

The cooperatives estimated the total damage in the tens of millions of yen.

With ise-ebi currently in season, the cooperatives had expected about 500-kg to 1-ton catches of the expensive crustacean each day.

But fishing cannot resume unless the fish preserves work properly.

“Without electricity, we can’t do anything,” Hitoshi Suzuki, 47, chief accountant of the cooperatives, said. “And it’s far from over.”

Offshore fisheries have also been suffering since the typhoon.

At the Katsuyama fishery cooperatives in Kyonan, a municipality neighboring Minami-Boso, workers were busy loading a truck with baskets full of dead “tai” (porgy) for disposal around noon on Sept. 13.

When they could, they pinched their noses to block out the smell.

Large numbers of tai and “shima-aji” (Japanese horse mackerel) that the cooperatives raised in an aquafarm were found dead, apparently from being tossed around by raging waves during the typhoon.

As of Sept. 13, 6 tons of tai and shima-aji were pulled up from the aquafarm and thrown away.

More dead fish need to be recovered from the offshore aquafarm. The cooperatives estimate the total damage will exceed 100 million yen.

Branded the Madai of Edomae (old Tokyo style) produced in Chiba Prefecture, the tai raised by the cooperatives have been very popular in the market.

“The shipment volume has increased recently, and we were so excited about the future,” Yasuyuki Funatomi, 71, president of the cooperatives, said, before dropping his head in disappointment.