Radiation risk to Pacific fisheries overblown, say scientists – Fishupdate.com

Radiation risk to Pacific fisheries overblown, say scientists Published:  05 June, 2013

A GROUP of scientists have said that the radiation risk to Pacific fisheries from the Japanese Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown is not as serious as first feared and has been exaggerated.

Serious questions about seafood safety were raised when the plant was serious damaged in the disastrous 2011 earthquake which killed thousands of people.

Trawlers were ordered to stop fishing and the seafood-loving Japanese turned to countries like Norway to replace lost supplies. Even tuna found off the coast of California was found to contain higher than normal (although not dangerous) amounts of radiation.

But now Nicholas Fisher from the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) at Stony Brook University in the US and postdoctoral scholar Zosia Baumann, working with a colleague at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station, who detected the earlier California radiation along with the French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN)  have produced a report in a paper entitled “Evaluation of Radiation Doses and Associated Risk from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident to Marine Biota and Human Consumers of Seafood’.

The report in the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states that the likely doses of radioactivity ingested by humans consuming the contaminated fish, even in large quantities, is comparable to, or less than, the radiological dosages associated with other commonly consumed foods, many medical treatments, air travel and other background sources. The authors also conclude that contamination of Pacific bluefin tuna and other marine animals from Fukushima poses little risk to these animals.

It adds that despite this reassuring conclusion, over 1,000 stories appeared in newspapers, television, internet media, and radio outlets, with much of the coverage exaggerating the dangers posed to the seafood industry.