Evidence of elevated radiation in blue fin tuna caught off the coast of San Diego in August of 2011 over previous years was reported in a new paper from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal and blamed on the meltdown of Japan’s nuclear reactors.
Scientists believe the elevated radiation in the form of isotopes, came from the Fukushima nuclear meltdown in March of 2011, that occurred after an earthquake and insueing tsunami.
The report indicted that caesium-137 and caesium-134 found in the muscle tissue of 15 blue fin tuna caught last year was 10 times the amount found in tuna caught in the same area in previous years.
“That’s definitely the mark of Fukushima,” David J. Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University and a leading expert on the nuclear power plant meltdown who was not involved in the study, told The Huffington Post. “Most likely, the [tuna] would have eaten some contaminated fish off coast of Japan and then swam across the Pacific ocean.”
“That’s a big ocean. To swim across it and still retain these radionuclides is pretty amazing,” lead researcher Nicholas Fisher told the AP.
Though the researchers indicated that the radioactive material in our oceans from the Fukushima plant could have a long term effect on our oceanic food chain, it doesn’t mean there should be a health concern.
The elevated levels still remain well below regulatory limits in the U.S. and Brenner explains that the rates of caesium-137 and caesium-134 are 35 times less than the amount of radioactive potassium, which is naturally-occurring in the fish.
The report also noted that the fish caught in San Diego were for sport as blue fin tuna used for consumer consumption are farmed in the U.S.