By Rebecca Gardon
Worried about eating seafood? Fears are swirling that radiation leaking into the Pacific from Japan’s Fukushima disaster in 2011 could surface locally as dangerous catches. Catalina Offshore has been tracking the studies and issues carefully. The scientific community and the FDA have been working together to keep contaminated food from reaching our shores and continue to test.
It’s safe to stay in the water
Domestically, Pacific-caught seafood has been shown to have “roughly 300 times lower levels of cesium 137 and 134 (specifically related to Fukushima) than would prompt further investigation,” according to the FDA.
Revelations in September 2013 show that plumes of radioactive water have been recently released into the waters off Japan. This is never a good thing, but consider:
- How vast the ocean is.
- That migrating fish rinse out most of the radiation they’ve been exposed to.
- That naturally occurring and man-made radiation has existed in the seas since the last century.
- That, most importantly, ongoing studies show levels are well below any health concerns.
- By example, “A person would have to eat more than 4,000 pounds of albacore tuna at the highest radiation level measured to increase his or her radiation level by just one percent…” according to Fionna Matheson, a spokeswoman from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) in an article published by the Coast News in San Diego (which quotes our founder, Dave Rudie).
Eat local and well
Seafood continues to be an important part of our diet, a healthy source of protein and other nutrients.
Stay on top of the issue and discuss it with a trusted fishmonger. Of course, we always encourage you to seek out the most recent media coverage.
- Fukushima tuna study finds minuscule health risks – CNN, June 3, 2013
- FAQ’s about Seafood and the Fukushima Leaks – Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Aug. 30, 2013
- Fukushima Leak Is Not Affecting Seafood – Food Safety News, Sept. 12, 2013
- All the best scientifically verified information on Fukushima impacts – Deep Sea News, Jan. 8, 2014
- What to worry about after Fukushima nuclear disaster – Scientific American, Jan. 9, 2014
- U.S. Seafood Safe and Unaffected by Radiation Contamination from Japanese Nuclear Power Plant Incident; U.S. Monitoring Control Strategy Explained – NOAA
- Response to the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Facility Incident – FDA
Revised Nov. 19, 2015