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World's Largest Fish Market Forced to Move

31 December 2013

JAPAN - Tokyo's iconic Tsukiji fish market is to be moved ahead of Olympic Games.

The world's largest fish market is being moved as Tokyo gets a facelift ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, reports ABC News.

The Tsukiji Fish Market is a famous landmark in the Japanese capital, and has sat in the same spot for eight decades.

From mackerel to minke whale, shellfish to squid, the market is a shrine to seafood in all its shapes, sizes and spurting glory.

"This place is the kitchen of the 10 million people of Tokyo. It's central to Japan's culture of eating seafood," stallholder Toshio Awatake said.

Despite being spread over 20 hectares, the ageing market is growing ever more congested and crowded.

"I think many people here want to stay. But the facility is old and growing more unhygienic, and hygiene is vital to Japan’s safe food culture," stallholder Naohide Kametani said.

In the next few years, Tsukiji will be shifted out of the centre of the city to a new site on a manufactured island in Tokyo bay.

Every year, it handles half-a-million tonnes of seafood and generates more than $20 billion in revenue.

Shifting it spells bad news for the thousands of restaurants and businesses outside the market's main gate, according to ABC News.

There is one major problem with the proposed move - the new site for the market used to be home to a refinery, and the land is contaminated.

But Mr Kametani is not put off. The stallholder said: "They're dealing with the soil contamination, and I don't think it'll affect the fish. It'll be a good, new market."

There are other pressures to move. with the Tsukiji market sitting on prime real estate in central Tokyo worth billions of dollars.

Developers want to replace it with high-rise apartment buildings, signalling the end of a unique way of life.

TheFishSite News Desk

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