Fukushima Radiation Reaches US in Bluefin Tuna

Pacific bluefin tuna carrying radioactive cesium from the Fukushima nuclear plant have been found off the coast of California. Fifteen young tuna caught off San Diego last year showed radiation that is not at dangerous levels, but offers a window to scientists studying the migration patterns of marine life. Researchers were surprised to find the cesium in all 15 fish sampled; the radioactive isotope had not been detected in fish caught before 2011, nor in yellowfin tuna native to California waters.

The Los Angeles Times quotes researcher Daniel Madigan, a doctoral candidate at Stanford: “We showed that a bluefin tuna is capable of picking up radioactive material and transporting it across the ocean. That’s new. Traditionally people don’t think of migratory animals as transport vectors for radioactive materials.”

This is not the first time that evidence of the Fukushima power plant meltdown has reached North America. Very low radioactivity was detected in milk in Washington and California last year.

The radiation levels are extremely low and do not pose a health risk to humans — the bluefin tuna have far more to fear from us, since they are being fished to near extinction, with international action slow in coming. However, what it does demonstrate are the far-reaching, systemic consequences of human actions. As we saw with the tsunami debris, there is no “away;” whether materials are swept away or thrown away, they still end up in someone’s back yard. That’s true for plastic bottles, air pollution and, as this has demonstrated, for nuclear waste residue.

Related Stories:

Post-Fukushima, Nuclear Policies in Flux Around the World

Fukushima Fallout: Low Levels of Radiation in US Milk, Contaminated Marine Life in Japan

Japan Says It Will Ignore A Ban On Bluefin Tuna

Image: Pacific bluefin tuna by aes256 via Creative Commons license


Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W5 years ago

thank you

ii q.
g d c5 years ago


Sergio Padilla
Sergio P5 years ago

What a disgrace!

Michael C.
Michael C5 years ago

JL. A. Nagasaki and Hiroshima should have been a wake-up call, as Jeffery chose to point out.

Three Mile Island should have been the death of nuclear power(3-28-79).

Chernobyl should have been the death of nuclear power (4-26-86).

Fukushima should absolutely be the death of nuclear power -- 3 strikes and you're out!!

Guess what? Your Government just released a few million of your $$$'s to promote new Nuclear Power Plants. Go figure.

Michael C.
Michael C5 years ago

Right after the Fukushima accident, I went out and purchase 1000 years of Wasabi, did I plan for a long enough time. Can't have life w/o Wasabi, my sushi would never be the same.

walter b.
walter b.5 years ago


Anita Wisch
Anita Wisch5 years ago

This just shows how small this planet actually is, and how interconnected we all are, to the animals that inhabit it.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

I suspect the United States concocted nuclear power as a public relations stunt in reaction over our shame at being the only nation ever to use nuclear weapons (two bombs, one each on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) in war. We need to get over it and stop compounding the problem of accumulating spent nuclear fuel rods that will require storage safely out of harm's way to get their level of radioactivity back down to that of the uranium ore from which they were made. We also need to buy out our commitment to the nuclear power industry by buying out the remaining outstanding loans for building nuclear power plants and commit ourselves to guarding those spent fuel rods for the next 3,000 years, before we have a Fukushima scale nuclear accident of our own, Indian Point nuclear power plant is supposed to be the U S nuclear power plant most vulnerable to earthquake damage.

Mary Mattarelli
Mary Mattarelli5 years ago

Scary stuff.Humans are distroying this beautiful planet, one way or another

Tolga U.
Tolga U5 years ago

humans = evil.