Thursday, August 2, 2012

Russia Today News Insinuates Fishing Is Banned on West Coast of the US Because of Radiation Contamination from #Fukushima Nuke Accident, and Japanese Freak Out

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.


Maju said...

The sign appears for three seconds! It may be a bit sensationalist (not at all more than the usual in other media, very specially in the USA) but at least they are talking of the FACTS of radiation and not burying the matter under the rug.

IF Russia Today could make honest criticisms of Russian politics, it'd be one of the best media on Earth nowadays. They are tied on that side and that's their weakness but for the West and the South, they are a quite good informative reference.

Another thing is if some people in Japan have over-read on that sign but the sign appearance for exactly 3 seconds is just your usual: we need some images of California fishermen and such for this piece and the sign was like saying: "me, me!" I'm sure the realizer just could not resist but let's not overblow that: it's just a detail!

Anyhow, the USA and Canada (and Russia) should at the very least monitor and report radiation levels in their Pacific Ocean coasts, which must be quite worrisome at some locations. The information is not transparent outside Japan either.

Anonymous said...

I think all anyone wants is fair and honest monitoring of ,and protection from Fukushima radiation- or all radiation.For governments to provide accurate public information on quality and safety of atmosphere/air, water, soil--and all the products used for life as we know it.

Anonymous said...

Eat Mor Chikin

kuma shutsubotsu chuui said...

I'm with Maju on this. I don't agree that "RT strongly insinuates that fishing is banned because of the radiation contamination, making little room for the viewers to come to any other conclusion." Not even close to it, IMO.

As you say, the reporter comments, "This summer California fishermen are ready to inspect their catch closer than ever before." From the fact that there is even a catch to be inspected, shouldn't it be obvious that fishing is *not* "banned"?

Is it RT's fault that a few people who apparently don't understand English misinterpreted their report and then everybody ran with it? It's not like Japanese people have never seen "no fishing" signs at their own ports.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

Maju and kuma, that (Fishing ban in California because of fukushima radiation) is THE ONLY CONCLUSION that the Japanese are drawing, watching and reading about this RT news.

Anonymous said...

lolo, no worries, you ill see it on deadliest catch first.

Anonymous said...

Another baseless popular story is the Japanese Olympic team removed from the opening ceremony because of the radioactive amulets that they wore. It was bad enough that some blogger posted the crap, and some Japanese bloggers of much influence started to say anyone who wouldn't believe the story was delusional. It's now been translated into English by you know who, and that is being translated back into Japanese as if it's authoritative fact (mostly because it is in English).

Same old, same old. Just like "news" of Americium in Tokyo last year, radioactive iodine in snow this year.

Anonymous said...

lolo, this stuff is pretty funny, radioactive amulets, to make this story work ruskaya would need a stack of data showing fish in the water were actually RAD. Bad timing, b/c the last RAD reports from California came blank @ background. St. Louis is coming in high, they could have worked this type of story there. lot of cointelpro stuff in teh pipes the last 24+hr & this whole Assange thing with his mother crying actually helps keep this operative under cover for USA but how does all this help Ruskaya?

Anonymous said...

> Eat Mor Chikin

Arsenic in Chicken

Chicken feed additive suspended over cancer fears

Maryland Becomes First State to Ban Arsenic in Chicken Feed

Anonymous said...

jesus christ is illegal to inspect the fish for radiation in the united states. read the new trade bill done by clinton. the usa will not test for japanese radiation.

Mike McGrath said...

I'm still buying fish in N. California.

Anonymous said...

Another BS from RT.

Anonymous said...

If the government(s) were to monitor radiation and make the information easily accessible to the public, misunderstandings/-interpretations, misinformation, deliberate misleading, etc., would be by far less likely. But, hey, why should they make it so easy for us common folk?

BTW, there are petitions all over the internet for radiation monitoring (for example: provides a link to one). Just google if inerested.

Bad enough that we have to ask for such a common sense thing as - continuous - radiation monitoring.

Unknown said...

You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your website..Fishing in Dubai

Mike said...

Many Japanese believe that there is a fishing ban in California, based on a picture of a marina sign? That is so foolish, it smells of irrational desperation, like some sort of fantasy that forces outside Japan will awaken and compel J-gov to do the right thing.

The US isn't even testing *Japanese* imported fish for radiation, nor North Pacific catches in Alaska and Washington, let alone California fish.

The sign itself is a typical municipal harbor sign, intended to keep recreational fisherman from casting their lines from the docks (and, as it says, small children from skipping stones across the water) so that they do not interfere with the boaters. It has absolutely nothing to do with commmercial fishing in the open ocean.

Maju said...

The EU instead does have a partial ban (since March 27 2011) on Japanese food imports, forcing all foodstuff from that origin to enter through specific ports where analysis can be made. Food from Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Yamanashi, Saitama, Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa Iwate and Shizuoka prefectures require an official declaration from the Japanese government declaring that the imports comply with EU's requirements (much stricter than Japanese ones). Food from the rest of Japan need a government official declaration that it is not originated from any of the 12 prefectures under special restrictions.


5% to 10% of food imports with any relation to the 12 prefectures must be tested for caesium radionuclides (no mention of other materials).

IMO, not enough but better than nothing. Other authorities should do the same at the very least.

No ban exists on US food (excepted most GMOs, which are still banned in EU - not all however) but Chinese and Indian honey seems to be forbidden in EU (not in the USA) because of contamination with antibiotics and heavy metals.

Anna Torv said...

Fishing in Dubai is great experience

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