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Bluefin tuna carry radiation from Japan May 30,2012   |  Source: World Fishing

Bluefin tuna exposed to radioactivity that leaked into the Pacific Ocean after the earthquake and tsunami damaged Japan’s Fukushima power plants last year have carried that radiation to the waters off California.

This is according to a new study by scientists from Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS) and Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station.

While the radioactivity levels in the Pacific bluefin tuna posed no public health threat, these findings represent the first documented instance of the transport of radioactive materials in the sea through a biological migration.

SoMAS professor Nicholas Fisher, PhD, and postdoctoral scholar Zofia Baumann and Daniel Madigan of Stanford measured the levels of two radioactive isotopes of cesium in bluefin tuna caught in August 2011 off the coast of San Diego, California. Pacific bluefin tuna spawn in the western Pacific and many migrate in their first or second year to the waters of the eastern Pacific. Analysing the radionuclide content in top marine predators such as bluefin tuna should provide unequivocal evidence of migratory routes and timing of these animals, the researchers concluded.

By the time these fish arrived in California, the artificial radioactivity levels in these


© Mercator Media Ltd 2012

Theme(s): Fisheries Resources.

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