Sushi lovers might want to think twice before ordering up that next spicy tuna roll, as scientists just found Fukushima radioactivity in tuna that has migrated from Japan to the Pacific Northwest. Although the actual amount of radioactivity is insignificant for human health, researchers say that this discovery gives them a better understanding of how the meltdown continues to impact the ocean environment in the wake of the disaster.
Tuna migrates between Japan and the Pacific Northwest, consuming smaller fish along the way, which allows toxins from those fish to build up in the tuna. That makes it the ideal fish for researching radiation. Scientist Jason Phillips from OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences said he wasn’t expecting to find high levels of radiation, but he was interested in researching tuna migration patterns using levels.
Researchers caution that the amount of radiation found in the fish is insignificant, hardly a tiny fraction of what the average human is exposed to every day and well below acceptable levels according to the FDA. Nonetheless, they wanted to make sure that people were informed about the presence of radioactivity. Scientists plan to continue looking into fish off of the Pacific coast, thanks to support from the Oregon Sea Grant.