This is an issue of significant importance to the United States since, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the U.S. imported almost 45 million pounds of fish from Japan in 2012.
There is evidence the radioactive water emanating from the plants starting two years ago has made its way into the ocean currents and will soon start to affect the ecosystems in North America as early as the spring of 2014.
Some say it is already here.
Reports are coming in that the North American food supply is already being affected by Fukushima.
Bluefin tuna caught off the San Diego coast is showing evidence of radioactive contamination. This is the first time that a migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity 3,000 miles from Fukushima to the U.S. Pacific coast. It is a nutrition source that accounts for approximately 20,000 tons of the world’s food supply each year.
According to the report published by the National Academy of Sciences, “We report unequivocal evidence that Pacific Bluefin tuna, Thunnus orientalis, transported Fukushima-derived radionuclides across the entire North Pacific Ocean.”
“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing,” Fisher said.
To rule out the possibility the radiation found in the tuna was carried by ocean currents or dropped into the ocean through rainfall from the atmosphere, the team also analyzed Yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and Bluefin that migrated to Southern California before the nuclear crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s.
The report went on to say: “The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the U.S. and Japanese governments.”
The results were surprising enough to conduct further tests this coming summer with a larger sampling of migratory fish. The tuna that were the subject of the previous study were exposed to radiation from Fukushima for approximately one month. The upcoming study will be looking at fish that have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period.
They will also be expanding their study to cover other migratory species including sea turtles, sharks and seabirds.