Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fukushima radiation: "Don't buy Pacific fish"

One of John Ward's scientific correspondents tells him:

"I would also advise your Sloggers, not to buy fish products, salmon, tuna, sushi from the Pacific: as the Caesium plume spreads, the chances of ingesting contaminated fish will grow, and it will be interesting to ascertain what measures government is taking in this regard….”

Back in May, BBC News reported how Pacific tuna have absorbed radioactive material in their oceanic wanderings. The reporter was at pains to say that the fish were still safe to eat. There are further reports here.

I am less inclined to accept scientific reassurances than I used to be. I recall how the UK nuclear reactor at Windscale (since renamed Sellafield to shake off poisonous memories) was thought to be safe, and local schoolchildren would sometimes go up to the site to led condensation droplets fall into their mouths. Later, perhaps after the fire there that was covered up, scientists moved their children away from the nearby school but did it quietly, so as not to scare the general populace. I'm sorry, but although I recall the information I can't now find the references to back this up. The main point is, we don't always know how safe things are and when concerns develop we commoners are not kept abreast.

There are reports of fish - Pacific herring - bleeding from eyes and gills. Now this may have nothing to do with radiation (think of the great swirling garbage patches - there's more than one - in the oceans, and stretches of oxygen-depleted and algae-covered sea); or if there is a connection, it may be indirect, like the way that pesticides may weaken the defences of bees, rather than killing them outright.

A core issue is our degree of trust in the openness and competence of governments and scientific agencies.

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1 comment:

A K Haart said...

A complex issue. We only buy North Atlantic or farmed fish, but whether the precaution is justified I don't know.