Title: Post-Fukushima, Japan’s irradiated fish worry B.C. experts
Source: Vancouver Free Press
Author: Alex Roslin
Date: July 19, 2012
The numbers show that far from dissipating with time, as government officials and scientists in Canada and elsewhere claimed they would, levels of radiation from Fukushima have stayed stubbornly high in fish. In June 2012, the average contaminated fish catch had 65 becquerels of cesium per kilo. That’s much higher than the average of five Bq/kg found in the days after the accident back in March 2011, before cesium from Fukushima had spread widely through the region’s food chain.
In some species, radiation levels are actually higher this year than last.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency [...] spokesperson Lisa Gauthier refused to make someone available to answer questions on fish monitoring.
Physician Tim Takaro
Burnaby MD Tim Takaro says he now avoids eating fish from the vicinity of Japan. “I would find another source for fish if I thought it was from that area,” said Takaro, an associate professor in Simon Fraser University’s faculty of health sciences.
“There are way too many questions and not enough answers to say everything is fine,” Takaro said in a phone interview.
Physician Erica Frank
A Canada Research Chair in UBC’s faculty of medicine and a past president of the Nobel Prize–winning U.S. group Physicians for Social Responsibility, another signatory of the statement—said she also avoids eating fish from Japan.
“I think it’s important to ask purveyors of Pacific food where it comes from,” she said.
It all leaves Vancouver doctor Frank bewildered by the government response here.
“It struck me as such a poor public-health decision not to monitor. This requires urgent action, but it just doesn’t seem to register on anyone’s radar,” she said.
Frank is now writing a book about the struggle to get authorities to monitor fish after Fukushima. She said she thinks of it as a murder mystery. “There are no bodies, but as a specialist in preventive medicine, I worry about increased mortality from the fish,” she said.
Stony Brook University’s Nicholas Fisher
Nicholas Fisher is one of the few U.S. scientists studying Fukushima’s impacts on migratory fish in the Pacific.
Fisher said he was surprised when told about the high cesium levels in the Japanese fisheries data. It makes him leery of eating fish from Japanese waters, he said.
“Those are high numbers. It would give me pause if I were eating fish in Japan.…Imported fish are also a concern,” said Fisher, a marine-sciences professor at New York’s Stony Brook University. Fisher added in a phone interview that the persistently high cesium numbers may be a sign that the Fukushima plant is still leaking radiation into the ocean.
Read some of Fisher’s more noteworthy statements here:
- Strange: 8 months later, plutonium test results still "pending" -- Researcher compares Fukushima radiation to potassium -- From nuclear-connected university
- Forbes: Radiation in California bluefin tuna may be a blessing -- Lead Scientist: My first thought was this will do more for conservation of this animal than nearly anything else could
Published: July 19th, 2012 at 12:38 pm ET