Radioactive bluefin tuna cross pacific from Japan to the US adding to the incessant disasters that face this beautiful fish. The Atlantic Bluefin tuna is one of the largest, fastest, and most gorgeously colored of all the world’s fishes. Their torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies are built for speed and endurance.
Their coloring—metallic blue on top and shimmering silver-white on the bottom—helps camouflage them from above and below. And their voracious appetite and varied diet pushes their average size to a whopping 6.5 feet (2 meters) in length and 550 pounds (250 kilograms), although much larger specimens are not uncommon.
Unfortunately for the species however, bluefin meat also happens to be regarded as a delicacy, particularly among sashimi eaters, and overfishing throughout their range has driven their numbers to critically low levels.
Species extinction faces us all in the wake the Nuclear disaster in Japan. When are we going to take radiation contamination seriously?
ACROSS the vast Pacific, the mighty bluefin tuna carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan’s crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the US. It is the first time a huge migrating fish has been shown to carry radioactivity almost 10,000 kilometres away.
“We were frankly kind of startled,” said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The levels of radioactive cesium were 10 times higher than the amount measured in tuna off the California coast in previous years. But even so, that’s still far below safe-to-eat limits set by the US and Japanese governments.
Tissue samples from all 15 tuna contained levels of radioactive ceisum-134 and cesium-137 higher than in previous catches. The team also analysed yellowfin tuna, found in the eastern Pacific, and bluefin that migrated to southern California before the crisis. They found no trace of cesium-134 and only background levels of cesium-137 left over from nuclear weapons testing in the 1960s. The results “are unequivocal. Fukushima was the source,” said Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, which had no role in the research.