Timon Singh

Three-Eyed Fish Caught Near Argentinian Nuclear Power Plant

by , 10/28/11

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In an episode of The Simpsons, nuclear power plant owner Mr. Burns tries to justify the existence of Blinky, a three-eyed fish caught in the local river, by saying it is the next step in evolution and not a horrible mutation. Strangely though, he refuses to eat Blinky when it is served to him — we’re not surprised. But while Blinky is the product of a fictional cartoon, this three-eyed fish caught nearby a nuclear facility in Argentina, is not.

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Fishermen in Argentina are claiming that they have caught a three-eyed fish in a reservoir in the Córdoba province, and it just so happens that a nearby nuclear facility pumps its hot water directly into this body of water.

Unsurprisingly, the discovery of the three-eyed wolffish has prompted concerns about the levels of radiation in the reservoir and to what degree the local wildlife are affected. We’re no experts, but if they’re growing extra eyes – we’d say quite a bit.

Speaking to local press, fisherman Julián Zmutt said of his discovery: “We were fishing and we got the surprise of getting this rare specimen. As it was dark at that time we did not notice, but then you looked at him with a flashlight and saw that he had a third eye.”

Unsurprisingly, they didn’t eat the fish, but instead gave it to local scientists to see if the mutation is natural or caused (as many think) by the nuclear power plant.

While not as big a blow as the Fukushima disaster or even the Indian Point debacle, the discovery of the three-eyed fish, or ‘Blinkygate’ as we’ll call it, is set to raise a lot of eyebrows over the impact nuclear power plants are having on our local wildlife and, as a result, the food chain.

Via Practical Fish Keeping

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  1. Deppydidepp April 12, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Stop claiming the Simpsons came up with the three eyed fish! Long ago, a three eyed salmon was actually caught by Yakama indians that just happen to be living downstream the Columbia river from Hanford, the USA\’s insanely contaminated nuclear waste dump, from which radiation has been leaking like mad for ages now: http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/america-s-atomic-time-bomb-hanford-nuclear-waste-still-poses-serious-risks-a-752944.html

  2. tahrey January 30, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Mutations do sometimes occur naturally, but will typically be selected against for various reasons.

    Unless and until someone actually bothers to grab a sample of the water and test its radiation level – as well as working out how old the fish is, as this is a deformity it would have hatched with, rather than developing in later life – we have no way of knowing whether this is a natural occurrence, or potentially related to human-caused isotope exposure. It might have just eaten a bunch of bananas someone dropped off a boat.

    I’d be highly skeptical though, as nuke plants tend not to dump radioactive water unless there’s been some kind of severe operating emergency. Irradiated water, maybe, but the two things aren’t the same as each other.

  3. obviouslytad January 26, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    I find it interesting that Anonymouslyannoyed finds it so easy to write-off a mature 3-eyed fish that clearly survived in the wild for what looks like at least several years (the fish appears to be large) and was found near a nuclear power plant as sensationalism! Mutation are generally a result of some sort of disruption in the development of the organism, as demonstrated in nature when sheep eat the corn lily plant. This produces offspring with one eye, a syndrome called Cyclopia, induced by the naturally existing toxic alkaloid cyclopamine present in the plant. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Cyclopelamb2.jpg) Could the fish been mutated by nature? Sure. But considering that it was found near a site containing large amounts of radioactive material (you assume it’s always handled properly) it sure does seem possible that nuclear waste could have played a part.

  4. Anonymouslyannoyed November 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Given the fact that nuclear power plants use the water for simply heating it up through STEAM turbines and the water is in an isolated system and never comes anywhere near contact with the actual reactor or anything near it, this is a load of garbage. This website should stop trying to sensationalize anything just because it is a slow news day. How about any of the other mutations that have occurred causing an incomplete split of cells, often times leading to a third eye, or in some cases, two heads such as with a lovely little pig born a couple of years ago in the UK. Often, these mutations either die pre-birth or never make it to adulthood because of the mutation’s side effects. Horrible attempt at bashing nuclear power. I would think any adult, semi-conscious website would get their news and back it up with more than a Groening cartoon.

  5. pogrom November 2, 2011 at 5:51 am


  6. xsimpletunx October 31, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Be careful jumping to conclusions. Most people understand that Blinky is a fictitious character but few understand why. The idea is that exposure to elevated doses of certain types of ionizing radiation can cause cellular mutations, which often are far less severe than growing a third eye but it is entirely dependent upon the dose.

    So it would have to be shown that something coming out of the nuclear plant was sufficient in quantity to cause a critical dose to the fish, which would then need to show up in future generations. Mutations don’t typically occur within a single generation. Despite popular belief, nuclear plants release very little into the environment. Most radioactivity is contained and the water that is released, especially from a pressurized reactor, is just warm and not radioactive at all. Coal plants on the other hand emit far more radioactive material directly into the environment under normal operating conditions than any nuclear plant does.

    Be skeptical but also be aware. The nuclear plant could be responsible but so could a host of other culprits. In fact, its more likely that it is one of those other culprits but the devil is in the details of dose and source.

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