News articles and social media posts have shared a video of washed up shrimp, falsely saying it shows the creatures on a Chinese shore after being contaminated by wastewater from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. But the clip has circulated online since at least December 2021 and shows shrimp from an overflowing pond, the social media user who uploaded it said.
The video was published here in a news report by Hong Kong media outlet AM730 on August 25.
The headline of the article says in Chinese: “Fukushima nuclear discharge — A large number of prawns appeared unexpectedly on the beaches of Guangdong.”
Guangdong is a coastal province of southeast China that borders Hong Kong and Macau.
“Wow, come and catch shrimp. Wow, a lot of shrimp got washed up,” a man can be heard saying in the 13-second clip.
Screenshots of comments from social media users pop up during the video.
“I’d rather be boiled than polluted with nuclear power,” one says, while another adds: “Rather be eaten than get mutated.”
Japan began releasing treated wastewater from its stricken Fukushima plant into the Pacific on August 24, 2023.
China has banned all seafood imports its northern neighbour and condemned the release, despite it being declared safe by the UN nuclear watchdog and other international experts.
It was also embedded in a news report on the website of Malaysian newspaper Sin Chew Daily published on August 25.
The video, however, predates the Fukushima wastewater release by over a year.
The man has frequently uploaded videos of his harvest since June 2021.
Below is a screenshot comparison between the video in one of the false posts (left) and the Douyin video (right):
Screenshot comparisons of the video in the misleading news article (left) and the Douyin video (right)
A screenshot, taken on September 8, 2023, of the Douyin video
Captions about Fukushima added to his video had misled people, he said.
“The fact of the video is that the water in the shrimp farming pond caused the shrimp to flow out, not the so-called nuclear pollution,” his note reads.