This has been one of the most "popular" pieces of "news" circulating furiously on Twitter in the past few days. Looking at the date of the news video uploaded onto Youtube by Russia Today (July 21, 2012), RT seems to be the source of the "news". The story is reported by RT's Madina Kochenova, according to the video description.
The video has a catchy title (literally): "Fishy Catch: Fukushima fins spotted on US shores".
Many Japanese people in Japan on Twitter are so distressed (or feigning distress) that the fishing is banned in California because of radiation contamination. Oh My God, look at that sign, it does say "No fishing"! OMG, what do we do when the US demands compensation? We're eating fish here in Japan, and over there they have banned fishing! Radiation contamination must be really bad there, but it cannot be as bad as in Japan, so we are made to eat highly contaminated fish that are caught and sold freely in Japan! And on and on and on.
After having seen the retweet on this "news" today for nth time, I finally happened on the source material, the video by RT. Here's the screen shot that has freaked the Japanese and spawned endless tweets and retweets on radiation contamination scare and speculations about compensation money that will be demanded by the US: "No fishing" sign at a port.
RT's reporter Ms. Madina Kochenova in Los Angeles doesn't outright say (of course not) the sign has to do with the radiation contamination in fish caught and hauled at the port because of the Fukushima accident. But RT strongly insinuates that fishing is banned because of the radiation contamination, making little room for the viewers to come to any other conclusion. Ms. Kochenova says:
"This summer California fishermen are ready to inspect their catch closer than ever before."
As she says this, the "No fishing" sign is shown. Then, she apparently talks to a fisherman, who says:
"The word "radiation" creates a fear in people."
Uh.. yes, so? The fisherman may as well be answering to the reporter's question, "So tell me, what do you think of when you hear the word "radiation"?"
From this, many in Japan have connected the dots - fish in California are contaminated with radioactive materials from Fukushima, and they have banned fishing because of that, and see, the fisherman is afraid, and the US government will demand compensation from Japan!
In the 2 minutes and 50 seconds news clip, RT shows photographs of damages from last year's earthquake/tsunami/nuclear accident, then the soundbites from the US media when they reported back in May on the Stanford researchers' findings of small amount of radioactive cesium in bluefin tuna off the coast of California (10 Bq/kg or so, or about 5 times the background) last year.
I've never heard of fishing ban on the west coast of the US or Canada or Mexico anywhere because of radiation. This is fishy, I thought. Then, looking at the screen shot of the "No fishing" sign, I noticed letters and numbers on the sign: "L.B.M. .16.08.460". Hmmm. Let's run these letters and numbers...
As far as my quick search goes, "L.B.M. 16.08.460" is one of the sections in the Long Beach Municipal Code, and it is about fishing restrictions. The section has been there in the Code, it has been amended numerous times (here is one of them, here's another). The sign that RT used in the background of the news report is probably the sign to tell recreational anglers that they cannot fish at that location.
Almost 17 months since the start of the nuclear accident, we are no wiser.