Japanese radiation found in bluefin tuna off the coast of California

May 29, 2012CALIFORNIA For the first time, scientists have detected radioactivity in fish that have migrated into California waters from the ocean off Japan, where radiation contaminated the sea after explosions tore through the Fukushima nuclear reactors last year. Radioactive cesium was detected in samples of highly prized Pacific bluefin tuna, but it is well below levels considered unsafe for humans, the scientists say. The evidence is “unequivocal” that the tuna – caught off San Diego a year ago – were contaminated with radiation from Japan’s nuclear disaster, the researchers said. Virtually all bluefin tuna on the market in the United States is either farmed or caught far from the Fukushima area, so American consumers should not be affected by radiation contamination in their fish, seafood distributors say. The migratory bluefin studied by the researchers were all caught by sport fishermen and were not headed for the market. Daniel J. Madigan, a marine ecologist at Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove (Monterey County), Nicholas Fisher, a marine scientist internationally known as a specialist in radiation hazards at Stony Brook University on Long Island, and Zophia Baumann, a staff scientist in Fisher’s laboratory, reported their discovery Monday in the early online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The finding was wholly unexpected, Madigan said. It came about when he was researching the migratory patterns of bluefin tuna as part of a broader study of Pacific fish migration. The young tuna, averaging about 13 pounds apiece, were found to be contaminated with two radioactive forms of the element cesium. Isotopes called cesium-134 and cesium-137 do not exist in nature but are produced only in nuclear explosions such as the weapons tests of the Cold War era. Before the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami, low levels of the radioactive cesium-137 , which decays to harmlessness only over thousands of years, had been measured in Japanese waters, while the shorter-lived cesium-134 was undetectable, the scientists said. That difference, they said, was crucial in concluding that the radioactive contamination was linked to the Fukushima disaster. Increased concentrations of radioactivity contaminated nearly 60,000 square miles of the ocean off Japan after workers at Fukushima pumped thousands of tons of seawater over reactors last year to prevent a complete meltdown of the reactor cores. –SF Gate
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24 Responses to Japanese radiation found in bluefin tuna off the coast of California

  1. ONTHEMARK55 says:

    I just read this article off the Reuters wire no more than an hour ago. I’m happy the experts are convinced there’s no danger to humans from consuming said fish, but i have a question. Beings the fish are young, what effect will this type of “contamination”(great, had to use one of the 100 nono words) have on the reproductive cycle? Could they be sterile, deformed offspring, or even kill them slowly?


    • Emanni says:


      When are you going to have these prized Pacific Bluefin Tuna on your dinner table?


      • ONTHEMARK55 says:

        My hook is in water as we speak, I’ll call you for dinner when the barbeque is ready! I reread my comment, i meant “so happy”, can you believe their tellikng us it’s ok! Anyway thanks for the wonderful response, gotta go, my dinner salad awaits me. 🙂


  2. elijahsmom3 says:

    I personally, do not believe a damn thing the “experts” say anymore.


    • Phyllis says:

      me either and I dont belive they are unsafe either,the so called experts are in on the coverup and want things to continue as usual,lives be darned!I wouldnt eat any seafood at all right now unless I know where it came from.I dont really believe they care how many people die from all this,they will just cover it up like always.


  3. Gordian Knot says:

    Didn’t the Japanese government and or other Japanese agencies claim the same about low-radiation levels with little harm to people and the food chain ? Many of us know that the trade winds from Japan have been dumping radiation on our western shores since last year as experts claim no harm will come to Americans.

    Our air and food chain is slowly being poisoned as we run out of options to protect ourselves, from ourselves.


  4. Kaos says:

    Magnitude 5.8 – NORTHERN ITALY



  5. kingkevin says:

    More like the first time they have admitted to the fact fukushima is a serious issue on hand, I don’t know but whether they say it’s safe to eat or not we should be smart enough to realize consuming radioactive anything is not good. Please don’t eat radioactive fish because they say it’s safe, they say bpm. Flouride and our diet isn’t harming anyone either (wink wink )


  6. suz says:

    Food grown further away from the source of contamination will be less radioactive than food grown near the source of contamination. Much of the food from the sea will be contaminated to some degree. Obviously we will need to think very carefully about the source of our food. The best we can do is try to keep our immune system strong and stay away from foods we know are not healthy for us.


  7. wendy says:

    NEVER believe the “experts” they are the ones who make money off of us (nuclear power) and our short or long term health is of no interest to them. Because if we all get sick the medical community stays rich. And if we sue someone the insane legal systems stay rich. I’m so happy I am a vegan and no longer deal with this. But I feel very sorry for the fish. No one cares about them as free living creatures whose lives have been horribly polluted. Who knows, they may be the next mass die off?? :C I’m sad for the fish and the sea.


  8. Artoro says:

    These tuna have been contaminated long before this report. I’ll bet some have already been caught, canned and placed on our local grocer’s shelf. There’s no telling what else has been contaminated, but I’m sure they’ll let us know after we’ve been consuming it for a month or so. Just scratched tuna off my grocery list. BTW a few of the popular fast food restaurants get their fish product from the Alaskan waters. Just a little food for thought (no pun).


  9. Bonnie says:

    If tuna has it, then most of sea life will have it. We can’t avoid unless we never eat seafood again.


  10. Irene C says:

    Hmmm, so much for the tuna casserole I ate yesterday and today. Of course, to warm it up, I nuked it in the microwave. Guess my husband will let me know if I start glowing in the dark. As for giving up seafood – nah.



  11. i never eat seafood anyway.


  12. Susanna Lehtimäki says:

    We are far from having read the last chapter of the Fuku accident. The plant is still spewing it’s deadly “aroma” in different forms as we speak. The Tepco ppl + Japanese officials said “we’ve got this” a long time ago and the ppl around the world fell into slumber thinking all is well the truth being quite the opposite. Even Europe is getting it’s dosage of it, more than a fair share.. Many remained doubtful though (including myself) and started an active monitoring of the situation through different means (it’s amazing what you can get ahold of through the web these days) and started piecing together a terrifying picture with all the conflicting and confusing info coming out in small bits and pieces. Making their own evaluations they made speculations about the REAL state of the Fuku plant and started to come up with a bigger picture that was obviously being franticly covered up by official sources.
    As more ppl with expertise (and sometimes even common ppl with interest in the field) on the nuclear physics made their own independent estimates and came up with propable scenarios about what’s really going on and what f.ex. Tepco had initially denied -the very same things were admitted in the public when the cover up was just about to be blown off anyways.. And this has happened innumerous times the past +1 yrs.. An example: In the beginning there was the official news release saying there was no melt-down and since then it has widely been informed in the public by the same instances that first denied it that 3 (!) melt-downs happened already in the early stages of the disaster and today no one knows exactly where the molten core “lava” is. The radiation is way too high (even for the quipment) to have anyone/-thing to even come close to the suspected locations for any definite conclusions…
    I know this is a very sad and painful reality, but it needs to be acknowledged world-wide and a global effort meeds to be mustered up to bring in help. Japan has not and will not be able to deal with this on it’s own -and the whole world is getting to suffer the consequences thereof.


  13. Emanni says:

    keeping in mind this is 9 months old (August 2011)

    I wonder how much that 100,000 SQ Miles (259,000 SQ KM) has expanded?

    China Finds 100,000 SQ Miles of Radiation In Pacific Ocean Up 300 Times Higher Than Normal

    China has discovered 100,000 square miles of Pacific Ocean waters, at distances up to 800 kilometers from Fukushima, with Cesium radiation levels up to 300 times normal and Strontium radiation levels up to 100 times normal.

    China says a study conducted by its State Oceanic Administration has found widespread levels of highly radioactive contamination throughout Pacific Ocean.


  14. Sylvia says:

    Our waters have been dirty & polluted for some time now, it doesn’t take a scientist to figure that one out but after Fukushima I decided seafood was off the menu for me. Honestly, don’t know what to say if you feel that information being spouted by these ‘experts’ is truth. Sadder, is the state of our oceans – what was once a varied & abundant ecosystem is falling apart. This is painful to me and also very telling about the direction we’re headed.
    Thank you Alvin for this wonderful site & all the effort you put into it. Take care.


  15. Emanni says:

    Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists

    “The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”

    Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

    Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.

    Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.

    Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.


  16. Emanni says:

    A Radioactive Nightmare

    Millions of Southern Californians and tourists seek the region’s famous beaches to cool off in the sea breeze and frolic in the surf. Those iconic breezes, however, may be delivering something hotter than the white sands along the Pacific.


    • ONTHEMARK55 says:

      Thanks for the link Emanni. I’m located in Oregon and plan on checking for readings in the Pacific N.W, will post what i find, Thanks again


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