Emerging ocean radiation problems may affect Pacific salmon

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Emerging ocean radiation problems may affect Pacific salmon

Postby Kevin » Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:12 pm

There may be an emerging issue around testing for radiation in wild
Pacific salmon, one of the few relatively-healthy and sustainable fish
stocks remaining around the planet.

+ Local federal officials, according to AP coverage, are
saying of salmon testing, either it's certainly not needed (FDA), or not commenting (NOAA):

Alaska, federal health officials say North Pacific fish not contaminated by Japan radiation - AP, 2011.0417
http://www.newser.com/article/d9mlogm02 ... ation.html

+ We know that Pacific salmon that spawn in North America range far
and wide in the open ocean, including as far as Japan and Russia and beyond:

Where do salmon go in the ocean? - NOAA

BC Salmon Migration Patterns
http://www.canfisco.com/wildsalmon/salm ... rn=summary

"In spring (May) chinook salmon were distributed south of the Aleutians
to 42°N latitude in the central North Pacific and to 40°N close to Japan..."
Ocean Distribution and Migration Patterns of Yukon River Chinook Salmon (2001)
http://www.fish.washington.edu/research ... s/0109.pdf

+ We know that ocean currents salmon are likely to follow
a) bring some portion of Pacific salmon toward Japan, and
b) are likely to carry a plume of radioactive material, along with
returning salmon, eastward into the Pacific from the coast of Japan:

Japan Radiation Release, Ocean Currents - Accuuweather, 2011.0406
http://www.accuweather.com/blogs/news/s ... ccuweather

Map of Pacific Ocean currents...

+ We know that the releases of radioactive material into (and onto)
the ocean from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are significant
and unprecedented.

How can a safety agency like the FDA know a-priori that the impacts
of an unprecedented event don't even need to be measured?

Radiation release will hit marine life - Nature, 2011.0412
http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110412/ ... 2145a.html

+ We know that radioactive isotopes can be concentrated
tremendously as they move up the food chain to a high-level predator
like the salmon.

Sounds like systematic monitoring of radiation levels in Pacific
salmon is really good idea.

Systematic monitoring should start promptly, at least at a basic level, to
establish a solid baseline of data.

Thomas Hinton, deputy director of the IRSN Laboratory of Radioecology,
Ecotoxicology and Environmental Modelling in Cadarache, France, says "the
impacts are best addressed through an international long-term assessment."

I doubt there's any immediate risk from salmon already canned, or caught
fresh on the Pacific coast of North America, because of the time lag in fish
and currents crossing the ocean.

But once that time lag gets used up - and the Fukushima nuclear disaster
is already five weeks old - then we'd better be ready with scientifically-
sound monitoring already in place!


Thanks to David Owen for assisting with research for this posting.
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Postby Kevin » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:09 pm

Govt suspends shipment of Fukushima sand lances - NHK World, 2011.20

"The government has instructed Fukushima Prefecture to suspend shipments of a small fish caught off its coasts found to have radioactive contamination, and to warn people not to eat them.

"The restrictions announced on Wednesday are being applied to marine products for the first time, amid ongoing troubles at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

"The instruction follows a health ministry report that the fish called sand lance caught on Monday near Iwaki city, south of the plant, was found to contain 14,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium. That's 29 times the safe limit. ..."
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