Consumption of seafood is plummeting in Korea after leaks of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan.
Consumers are uneasy even though the government has reassured them that all the radioactive water is flowing in the opposite direction.
Sales of domestic hairtail and mackerel and Russian pollack in supermarkets dropped 45 percent in August on-year. But sales of salmon, which is imported chiefly from Norway, doubled on-year. A staffer speculated, "Consumers seem to believe that pollack and mackerel are dangerous because they're caught in waters near Japan."
"Rumors run rampant that pollack is unsafe because it's caught in Russian waters near Japan," another staffer said.
The government believes that the worries are unfounded. The National Fisheries Research and Development Institute recently said it collected samples from coastal waters in cooperation with the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety since 2011 and found no increase in radioactivity.
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has intensified radiation checks of imported seafood.