“Absolutely Every One” – 15 Out of 15 – Bluefin Tuna Tested In California Waters Contaminated with Fukushima Radiation

George Washington's picture

We noted more than a year ago:

The ocean currents head from Japan to the West Coast of the U.S.




Of course, fish don’t necessarily stay still, either. For example, the Telegraph notes that scientists tagged a bluefin tuna and found that it crossed between Japan and the West Coast three times in 600 days:


news graphics 2005  607819a “Absolutely Every One”   15 Out of 15   Bluefin Tuna Tested In California Waters Contaminated with Fukushima Radiation


That might be extreme, but the point is that fish exposed to radiation somewhere out in the ocean might end up in U.S. waters.

And see this.

CNN reports today:

Low levels of radioactive cesium from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident turned up in fish caught off California in 2011, researchers reported Monday.


The bluefin spawn off Japan, and many migrate across the Pacific Ocean. Tissue samples taken from 15 bluefin caught in August, five months after the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, all contained reactor byproducts cesium-134 and cesium-137 at levels that produced radiation about 3% higher than natural background sources

The Wall Street Journal quotes the studies’ authors:

“The tuna packaged it up and brought it across the world’s largest ocean,” said marine ecologist Daniel Madigan at Stanford University, who led the study team. “We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”




“We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium-134 and cesium-137,” said marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York state, who was part of the study group.

The bad news is that is is only going to get worse.

As Reuters points out:

Unlike some other compounds, radioactive cesium does not quickly sink to the sea bottom but remains dispersed in the water column, from the surface to the ocean floor.


Fish can swim right through it, ingesting it through their gills, by taking in seawater or by eating organisms that have already taken it in ….

As CNN notes:

Neither [of the scientists who tested the fish] thought they were likely to find cesium at all, they said. And since the fish tested were born about a year before the disaster, “This year’s fish are going to be really interesting,” Madigan said.


“There were fish born around the time of the accident, and those are the ones showing up in California right now,” he said. “Those have been, for the most part, swimming around in those contaminated waters their whole lives.”

In other words, the 15 fish tested were only exposed the radiation for a short time. But bluefin arriving in California now will have been exposed to the Fukushima radiation for much longer.

As KGTV San Diego explains:

The real test of how radioactivity affects tuna populations comes this summer when researchers planned to repeat the study with a larger number of samples.  Bluefin tuna that journeyed last year were exposed to radiation for about a month. The upcoming travelers have been swimming in radioactive waters for a longer period. How this will affect concentrations of contamination remains to be seen.

One of the studies’ authors told the BBC:

The fish that will be arriving around now, and in the coming months, to California waters may be carrying considerably more radioactivity and if so they may possibly be a public health hazard.

Japanese and U.S. officials – of course – are pretending that the amount of radiation found in the bluefin is safe.  But the overwhelming scientific consensus is that there is no safe level of radiation … and radiation consumed and taken into the body is much more dangerous than background radiation.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
BlackVoid's picture

That may stop overfishing. If by no other means than, it will kill the consumers.

Tom Green Swedish's picture

Uh. How did nuclear waste end up in the Ocean?

Hugh_Jorgan's picture

Uh. Japan is a pile of rocks and sand that is barely holding itself together.

JamesonD's picture

How can there be unequivocal evidence that these particular tuna have radiation from Fukushima? Its kind of a big ocean. When I read statements like that it is very difficult for me to take them seriously. "The shadow of Chornobyl covers the USA" - writemypaper.org

The Alarmist's picture

So a lot of us seem worried about our risk from radioactivity in our food, air, water, etc.

Ever stop to think that the die-off in honey bees in the northern hemisphere might be related to this? Poison tuna won't kill a lot of us, but total crop failure might.

Nah, that's too simple ... Never mind, the die-off is probably a PTB-Monsanto conspiracy.

Ace Ventura's picture

Interesting thought. Although I believe the bee colony die-offs were well underway long before Fukushima. Could be the proliferation of cell-phone towers sprouting all over the countryside, constantly blasting wireless signal traffic, which in turn could be scrambling the internal message traffic used by bee colonies. Or it could be latent effects of pesticide and/or GMO crops manifesting in the bee's biological makeup.

I agree that it is a problem that deserves far more investigation than it gets......but I wouldn't be too quick to dismiss Monsanto's hand in it. There is tons of information on that organization out there, and much of it ain't pretty.

The Alarmist's picture

Sorry, I was thinking of Chernobyl and the old atmospheric testing, with Fukushima merely being yet another contributor.  The bees have been dying for years.  The fact that Australia remains one of the few places with a healthy bee population got me on the track of the North-South hemisphere thing, since most of the testing occurred in the North, But quite a bit of the testing also occurred in the South Pacific, so I'm all wet there.

That's why I said, "Never Mind."  It is more plausible that Monsanto is behind it either with their GMO killing off the bees by accident or by plan of new Frankencrops that don't need bees but can only be "unlocked" if you pay them a licensing fee.  If the latter, the world will be a dreary place unless they plan to provide flowers as well, but when did central planners ever care for the common man having a little colour in his life?

User 3461's picture

Thought the bees were (are) victims of mites.

The Alarmist's picture

Frankenmites that have been juiced up by exposure to radioactivity????

drunkenlout's picture

My cats eat lots of tuna, but they won't live long enought to die from it.  I (age 63) won't live that long either.  

{Blues riff}  

Don't none of you F'ers care 'bout the future?  

I don't cause I'll be gone

Yeah, I'll be gone.

{End on 7th chord}



Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez's picture

"A person all wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small package!"


drunkenlout's picture

My cats eat lots of tuna, but they won't live long enought to die from it.  I (age 63) won't live that long either.  

{Blues riff}  

Don't none of you F'ers care 'bout the future?  

I don't cause I'll be gone

Yeah, I'll be gone.

{End on 7th chord}



Thunder_Downunder's picture

On the upside,  when you're jonesin for that late night tin of tuna, you won't have to turn a light on in the kitchen to find it. Smaller carbon foot print <hi 5!>

brokenspoke's picture

This new Tuna Fad will now be hyped as they latest cure for cancer.

Yohimbo's picture

wait till the tuna pick up a plutonium particle, and then people starting ingesting that. 

can you say clusterfuck?


tim73's picture

Fucking funny, these scaremongering idiots here now act like they are suddenly somekind of experts on radiation and radioactivity but I'd bet, most of them failed or barely passed chemistry and physics in high school.

Your high school teacher would certainly slap you in the face for being so fucking stoooooopiiiiiiiid. You do not even bother reading the basics of radiation like back then in high school.

But you are not alone. For example Italian diplomats were hurriedly brought back to Rome from Tokyo during the Fukushima accident. Rome has btw higher background radiation level than Tokyo had even with Fukushima "fallout". Idiots are all around.

UP Forester's picture

What's really funny, Timmah, is that there are quite a few people here who actually have done things, in the real world, in which you get a lot more in-depth training about radiation than you do in your high school classes you are in.

For example, anyone and everyone that has been in the military gets NBC (that's Nuclear, Biological and Chemical to you, youngster) training pounded into their head so much, even the below-average Neo-Neandertals actually learn that rads are bad, and worse if they're in you.

Before you go off spouting all your newfound Google facts and calling people stoooooopiiiiiiiid, perhaps you could try one more Google-search:  Look up "Bioaccumulation" and please give us a 100 word essay as to why this may be a factor in your adolescent development....

drunkenlout's picture

You're an obvious gubm't troll.  Lookin' forward to living in SLC?  Mormons gonna bash your brains out for using the F-word.  


JamesBond's picture

What -

No Huffington Post link?

minus dog's picture

Whoopty fucking do, GW.   3% higher than background means nothing when the background varies by an order of magnitude or two more than 3%


"and radiation consumed and taken into the body is much more dangerous than background radiation." - is also a meaningless statement.   You have alpha and beta particles and gamma rays; each particular type will do the exact same thing regardless if they're from a "background" source or from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Tuna.  

Ingesting an alpha or beta source is of course really not something you want to do; none of this is to say that cesium contaminated tuna are not a problem, but most of your article makes me cringe.

If you want to be taken seriously you need to stop sounding like you failed 6th grade chemistry and physics.

fredquimby's picture

none of this is to say that cesium contaminated tuna are not a problem


So STFU then.

disabledvet's picture

I'll have you know i passed 6th grade. That would be 6th grade EVERYTHING buster. Now "tell me where we can get the correct information" please! (Let me guess..."nowhere.")

Marginal Disutility's picture

Food is notoriously hard to measure for radiation, anyway. Whatever the truth, we aren't being told it.

User 3461's picture

Not everything that can be measured counts; not everything that counts can be measured.

Cheeky Bitch's picture

This is for Mr. Pelosi to some bailout money for his fisheries in the Pacific...they destroyed the central valley so as to allow the lil fishes which Mr. Pelosi fisheries feed off of..go figure.

Arnold Ziffel's picture

What a 'glowing' report.

hairball48's picture

I have a couple hundred cans of tuna in my "end of the world" stash of food....But I bought  90% of it  before fuckashima :)

world_debt_slave's picture

ha, ha, yeah, I just grabbed a can out of my stash called "King of the Sea" tuna, bought it in 2010, MRE's in 2009, waiting for the world to collapse and live like an animal.

Oh, and an emergency water filter to drink piss if needed, but not radiation proof. : (

syvanen's picture

This report is an interesting scientific observation but as of right now it has no health significance.  Those 15 tuna had on average 350 becquerels of K-40 per kg of tissue.  This is completely natural and is about the same as the radioactivity is each our own bodies.  The Cs-137 levels from Fukushima were about 30 bq/kg.  A becqueral of Cs137 and K 40 have comparable energies on average -- neither is an alpha emitter.


There is no evidence at all that the natural K-40 is damaging to life (concentrations simply too low) so there is nothing to worry about with Cs-137 levels 8% of background. 

thiscreepingmalaise's picture

I bet this guy is not having tuna salad for supper any time this week?

ZeroAvatar's picture

Aaaaand enter the government sock puppet, telling all us sheeple about how safe radiation is to eat and breathe and swim in.  "There is no evidence",  blah, blah, blah......puhleeeze, just stop already.  We're on to your game now.  You can run, but you can't hide. 

Homeland Security's picture

It has been repeatedly demonstrated that radiation is safe to eat and breath and swim in. There is no evidence to the contrary. Please remeber these facts when you post.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

"There is no evidence at all that the natural K-40 is damaging to life (concentrations simply too low) so there is nothing to worry about with Cs-137 levels 8% of background."

I have posted this here before:

The most prevalent sources of radiation the average person receives: the natural Potassium-40 (K-40) in their bodies causing 200,000 radiation-producing disintegrations per minute in a 150 pound person, mostly beta and some gamma radiation, but that is only 1/5th the amount of irradiation they get from the radon progeny they inhale daily, in many areas of the country in large quantities, resulting in highly ionizing alpha particles irradiating the lungs, the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US, and the cosmic radiation that's twice as great for someone who lives at 5000 feet ASL than for someone at sea level.

The figures below are average figures and would be much higher for someone living in a high radon area, which is very many of us (from both
ground and radon sources). Check the map at the link below. Remember that this is continuous, low level, 24/7/365 irradiation:

Radon 200 millirem/yr

Body 40 millrem/yr

Cosmic 31 millirem/yr

Ground 28 millirem/yr

Consumer products: 11 millirem/yr

Using natural gas in the home: 9 millirem/year (from radon)

Total - 319 millirem/yr of unavoidable exposure

Chest X-ray 4 - 10 millirem

Dental X-ray (panoramic) – 1 millirem

US radon hazard zone map:


George Carlin's Hippy-Dippy Weatherman said, "Radar shows a line of thunderstorms approaching from the north... the radar also shows a
squadron of Russian ICBMs, so I wouldn't sweat the thunderstorms."

Stop sweating the thunderstorms.

Money Squid's picture

Jesus Christ ! why is not someone doing something about this? Why is there legislation banning radon, cosmic rays, body and ground. That would reduce overall exposure by 399 millreems per year. What wrong with this picutre!

thiscreepingmalaise's picture

yeah the hippy dippy weather man also said that a Canadian low is not to be confused with a mexican high either!!

bjonsson's picture

Yes, Cs 137 is not an alpha emitter, but it is a very strong gamma emitter.  It also does NOT occur naturally in nature, it's an isotope that is purely the byproduct of human nuclear pollution.

So, saying that the Cs 137 found in fish, NOW, is "similar to background" levels is like saying, "the pollution level in the fish is no worse that the pollution we released with all of our other radiation mishaps, so it's okay".

Winston Smith 2009's picture

But while gammas penetrate the body much further than Betas and Alphas, they are not nearly as ionizing (damaging) to tissue as the less penetrative but highly ionizing alpha particles.  Thus, it's the vast counts of alpha particles generated by the radon progeny that you breath daily that should be the vast majority of anyone's concerns with radiation. 

And, interestingly, the rain-out of those radon progeny from the atmosphere during rain showers causes intermittent, significant increases in background radiation at ground level. 

Geiger counter hobbyists have also found that the radiation level in their homes increases significantly after they vacuum because the radon daughters that had electrostatically "plated out" on carpet are released by the vacuum cleaner's disturbance.  So for all of you paranoid types, be sure to hold your breath while vacuuming and open all windows, even in winter.  What?  You haven't been doing that?  Then you've probably just endangered your health to a greater extent than any of the hazards thus far hyped here.

dolly madison's picture

Geiger counter hobbyists have also found that the radiation level in their homes increases significantly after they vacuum

Cool, an excuse not to vaccuum.

disabledvet's picture


syvanen's picture

After Fukushima blew I took my geiger counter with me on a vacation to Yosemite to see is I could detect any incoming from Fukushima. Going from the central valley to Anawahee Lodge, the back ground radiation doubled.  Probably due to Radon released in all of the granite stone work.

No geiger counter was able to see any cpm above background in that 3 to 6 week period after Fukushima.

Money Squid's picture

I guess all that detectable radiation pickup by EPA monitoring stations located across the US was just a coinkydink.

Winston Smith 2009's picture

I knew you would be making a big deal about this, blowing it totally out of proportion without listing all of the facts.  I didn't read the articles and columns you got this info from so I can't tell if your omission of facts was intentional, but I can tell you what I heard in an interview with the scientists who conducted the studyThey made the point of pointing out that the level of radioactive isotopes in these fish is minuscule and vastly less than what you'd get eating bananas, Brazil nuts, leafy green vegetables, carrots, etc., with their natural, "you'll never get away from it" radioactive isotopic components.

So, take a chill pill and stop hyping things that are nothing.

bunnyswanson's picture

You must be Mr. Numauchi. 


Guest Post: “I Cannot Talk About Radiation With Anyone” (EX-SKF, Jan. 4, 2012):

(UPDATE: I have her original Japanese writing in my Japanese blog, here. Share it with your Japanese friends.)


A reality in Japan from one of my Japanese blog readers.

From what I hear and read, she is not alone at all, and she doesn’t even live in Fukushima. More she tries to do to protect people she cares – family, friends – people think she’s crazy.

She may not be eloquent or sophisticated as Ms. Numauchi, but she is just as sincere in her fear and courage (though she says she’s not courageous).

From the reader “Nectarina”, from her original Japanese writing sent to me:


I am a housewife living in Aichi Prefecture with my husband. I was born in Shikoku. My life completely changed in 2011. Before the nuclear plant accident, I enjoyed my hobby (crafts) and taking a walk on the beach. But after March 11, I don’t feel like doing any of that, because I am afraid. How long can I remain healthy? Will something happen again tomorrow?

What’s been sad about the nuclear accident, radiation:

My husband, whom I shared the same values and whom I trusted, has changed. When I try to talk to him about the nuclear plant accident, the color leaves his face and he becomes angry. When we had a big fight, I asked him why. He said “I don’t want to know. If I knew I wouldn’t be able to work”. My husband puts a lot of energy in his work, so I suppose he wouldn’t be able to cope. So, even when I learn about some horrible news I cannot tell my husband. I deal with it by crying when I’m alone.

My husband resents it when I try to store safe food items like old rice. He thinks anything that’s being sold in the marketplace is safe, and thinks I’m crazy. Because I don’t want to argue with him, I use my savings to buy food when there is not enough money for [safe] food.

My husband approves of the wide-area disposal of contaminated debris. His reason is that the disaster-affected areas alone cannot dispose all of the debris. It doesn’t occur to him that the debris may be contaminated with radiation. I believe he’s wrong, and I cry the tears of misery.

He doesn’t care about food or drinks, and doesn’t appreciate my effort to make sure of the safety of the food I buy.

My mother back in Shikoku doesn’t understand at all when I tell her about the danger of radiation-contaminated food. She says I’m too nervous and it’s too tiresome. She believes TV more than me, her daughter, and thinks I’ve gone crazy.

I have a friend in Fukushima. I told him a number of times to leave Fukushima, but was dismissed. He is still young, single and healthy, and able to move anywhere, but he says he doesn’t want to leave his home and his family. We have become distant as the result, as I don’t know what to say to him any more, who is like a total stranger now.

And My sister. She’s been married for 5 years, and she became pregnant before the nuclear plant accident. During her pregnancy I wanted to tell her to be careful with food and to wear a mask. But my sister didn’t care at all about the nuke accident, and I feared that by telling the truth she might be shocked and that might affect her baby. So I couldn’t say a word. I felt I was a coward not telling the truth. But I bought a teddy bear as a present for the new baby. I prayed every day to the teddy bear to protect the baby.

But 7th month into the pregnancy, the baby suddenly stopped moving. The baby was dead, and had to be aborted. It was a late child-bearing, so I know it’s not necessarily because of the radiation. But I think it’s wrong if you cannot bear a child safely.

Afterwords, my sister told me that she had recovered and was now back to work. I thought the future was more important than the past, and plucked up my courage and told her to be careful with food she ate. My sister hasn’t contacted me since. Just like my mother, she must have thought I was crazy. Or she was shocked. I failed to make her understand, but I’m not regretting that I told her.

What’s been good:

 No family member nor friend understood me, I was alone. With horrible news, I was crying by myself every day in the early days of the accident. But in a blog that I often visited for my hobby, there was one person who was writing articles on the nuclear plant accident. I left comments to the articles and emailed that person, and soon we hit it off together. With that person and that person’s friend, three of us started an anti-nuke plant blog. My first friends after the plant accident.

On their recommendation, I started using Twitter, where I met several more kindred spirits. On further recommendation I started using “mixi” (a social site), where I found more friends. Now, I’m active in anti-nuke plant movements. To have met with the like-minded people via the Internet is the happiest thing for me.

What is scary:

All my life, I have believed that Japan is a safe, and good country. I am very shocked that it was nothing but an illusion. [The government] is hiding and lying about the situation of the nuclear plant accident, in collusion with TEPCO and the media. There are many people who could have avoided radiation exposure if the government had warned the danger right away. Children and pregnant women still live in the high-radiation contamination areas in Fukushima Prefecture.

The government wants to spread the radioactive debris from the disaster-affected areas all over Japan. Most municipal officials don’t have knowledge of radioactivity. The government is trying to coerce people into accepting the debris with words like “share the pain”.

Food is distributed throughout the country with hardly any testing for radiation. With the high numbers set for the safety limits, the [contaminated] food is used in school lunches. When I try to pick food by the place of origin, it is often disguised. I’m scared to go shopping, for I don’t even know what’s safe to eat.


I am not courageous, I don’t have an ability to take action, and I’m not smart. But for the sake of my sister and her unborn baby, I want to “return a blow” to the government and TEPCO. No matter how small a blow it may be.


To people outside Japan:

Radiation from Japan has contaminated the ocean and the countries around the world. The Japanese who know this are very much shocked. We have done the tremendous damage that cannot be undone. I am truly, very sorry.


I ask my readers please to support Japanese people like her and Ms. Numauchi in your hearts.

Cistercian's picture

Your blog is excellent.Thank you!

economicmorphine's picture

Unlike you, Winston, some of us don't believe everything we are spoonfed, especially when the people doing the feeding have a history of misrepresenting the truth when it suits their interest.  You want to eat glow in the dark tuna, go ahead my friend.  Stop apologizing for these fools.  They want you as dead as they want me.