Saturday, July 28, 2012

Canadian Magazine Worries About Radioactive Fish

The Georgia Straight is a weekly entertainment magazine in Vancouver, Canada. Its July 19 issue's front cover features salmon with three eyes, setting off an alarm on the geiger counter that's going overscale.

The article titled "Post-Fukushima, Japan's irradiated fish worry B.C. experts" is in that issue:

Are fish from the Pacific Ocean and Japanese coastal and inland waters safe to eat 16 months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster?

Governments and many scientists say they are. But the largest collection of data on radiation in Japanese fish tells a very different story.

In June, 56 percent of Japanese fish catches tested by the Japanese government were contaminated with ce-sium-137 and -134. (Both are human-made radioactive isotopes—produced through nuclear fission—of the element cesium.)

And 9.3 percent of the catches exceeded Japan’s official ceiling for cesium, which is 100 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg). (A becquerel is a unit of radioactivity equal to one nuclear disintegration per second.)

Radiation levels remain especially high in many species that Japan has exported to Canada in recent years, such as cod, sole, halibut, landlocked kokanee, carp, trout, and eel.

Of these species, cod, sole, and halibut, which are oceanic species, could also be fished by other nations that export their Pacific Ocean catch to Canada.

The revelations come from the Japanese Fisheries Agency’s radiation tests on almost 14,000 commercial fish catches in both international Pacific and Japanese waters since March 11, 2011, when an earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

(Full article at the link)

The article goes on to describe how the experts in British Columbia are worried, yet there hasn't been any testing in Canada of fish caught off the Pacific coast of Canada. The data the experts mention is the Japanese data on the Japanese fish caught in Japanese waters or hauled to Japanese ports.

Why are they so concerned about the radioactivity in fish caught in Japan (ocean and freshwater)?

The article says Canada imports a lot of fish from Japan. How much?

...Japan exported $430,000 of kokanee to Canada in the first four months of 2012, according to Statistics Canada figures.

...Statistics Canada data shows Japan exported $37,000 worth of “Pacific, Atlantic, and Danube salmon” to Canada in the first four months of 2012.

...The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a July 17, 2012, statement that Canada has imported one shipment of masu salmon, in October 2011, since Fukushima.

...Japanese finance ministry trade data, however, shows Japan exported 120 kilograms of masu salmon to Canada in April 2011, directly after the nuclear accident.

...Japan exported $6.9 million of fish and crustaceans to Canada in the first four months of 2012, according to Statistics Canada, which would work out to $20.7 million per year if averaged. That would be up from $16.3 million in 2011, which itself was higher than the 2010 total of $15.4 million.

By reading this article, you might get the impression that the same levels of radioactivity must exist in fish caught off the Pacific coast of Canada or in the freshwater rivers and lakes on the Pacific Ocean side. Are any Canadian government agency testing? The answer seems to be "no". Are any of the researchers quoted in the article testing? The answer seems to be also "no". The researchers say it is the government's responsibility to monitor.

When the government does monitor, it'd better use an instrument that can actually measure radioactivity, like a germanium semiconductor detector. Waving a geiger counter or personal survey meter over fish and other food items to detect radiation has been long abandoned even by people in Japan concerned about the safety of food.

(H/T John Noah for the article link)


On the separate news, Canada will export uranium to China, as China is planning 171 nuclear reactors to be built in the future to add to the current 14 and additional 26 under construction. (I would think the best defense against possible radioactive contamination of fish in the Pacific Ocean is to eliminate the source of contamination, like nuclear power plants in China ...)


Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to those seals in Alaska that had skin problems... Did they ever find out what caused it?

Anonymous said...

Think they are still waiting for the radiation test results. The "results were to be available in "couple weeks." Virus, bacteria were ruled out in one if NO radiation, I would think the news would be available immediately. One article said the scientist did not "think" it was due to radiation, but did not mention any tests or results/data. So I guess a FOIA is called for? One has to wonder why its so difficult to just SAY what tests were and what tests results were. And if not tested for radiation, WHY?

Anonymous said...

And walrus and polar bears also ill with similar illnesses!!

Anonymous said...

they found that it was not related to radiation

Anonymous said...

You see the implications of this radiations, and its only going to be worse, and they know it, whats the real deal is to hide this.

And since the fu... in TEPCO and gov. of Japan, has done nothing, the reast is self evident, the prospects are grim, the economic prospects are even frimmer.
They where warned, time and time again, and this is a crossroad on the behalf of the credibility to what ever goverment that issurounding the Pasific ocean.

This is not good, and will not be better.


Anonymous said...

They claimed the seals and bears weren't related to relation. Personally, I think they're full of shit... but, whatever.

This is somewhat related:
A while ago, I was looking for something to go with dinner and found some cans of imported Alaskan Red Tuna. However, going by purchase date, I was concerned that they were fished and packed after the Fukushima disaster. As a result, I decided not to take the risk. I did some research too, and only found one person posting from Alaska posting videos on YouTube of seafood radiation measurement.

That was a while ago, so seeing other places SLOOOOOWLY beginning to consider the widespread damage of the radiation leakage into the ocean... it's really quite sad. Can't rely on authorities to do what's truly important, I guess.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Just remember that you can't measure radiation by waving the personal survey meter over the fish.

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