Text size
Yellow text on a blue background
Black text on a yellow background
Yellow text on a black background


  • Enquiries
  • Site map

For the future of the Earth

Home > Outline of Japan's Industrial Pollution Abatement > Approaches to Air pollution Control (Case Study-1) Yokkaichi City, Mie prefecture > (2) Marine Pollution and Smelly Fish

Main content starts here.

Update:April 1, 2010

(2) Marine Pollution and Smelly Fish

1.Construction of Petrochemical Complexes and the Outset of Pollution

Whereas Yokkaichi was notorious for its air pollution which caused Yokkaichi asthma, a respiratory disease, the first victim of the pollution of The city was the fishing industry which suffered from severe water contamination.
In 1959, at the central wholesale market in Tsukiji, Tokyo, fish caught in Ise Bay, particularly those from off the coast of Yokkaichi, were returned unsold, or their prices were beaten down, receiving such remarks -"unfit to eat for their greasy smell". Subsequently, in order to probe into the causes of the problem, the Mie Prefectural Government organized the Special Committee of Promotion Council for Ise Bay Industrial Waste Water Pollution Countermeasures. The committee, in April 1961, concluded their assessment explaining the reason for the smelly fish: "greasy smell is attributed to the waste water containing mineral oil discharged from oil refineries or petrochemical plants absorbed into the fish body", which was later substantiated by an investigative report of the Science and Technology Agency.
Since Ise Bay which surrounds Yokkaichi Port is semi-enclosed, incoming industrial effluent had caused intensive damage to fish and marine life thereby inflicting a great loss on inshore fishery. Petrochemical manufacturers affiliated to the complex had been in conflicts for a long time with fishermen claiming damages. Such smelly fish have gradually declined in keeping with the improvement of the situation and currently have been observed.