Greenling Fish Photo from Shutterstock

Inhabitat has reported on the many effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster on the surrounding environment – from mutated butterflies to alien species being washed up on the other side of the Pacific. It has now been reported that some fish, specifically a pair of greenlings caught in waters near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, have been found to show the highest level of radioactive caesium ever detected in fish and shellfish.

fukushima, fukushima disaster, greenlings, radiation, radiation levels, caesium, fish, shellfish, nuclear power plant

According to Tokyo Electric Power Co. who reported the disturbing discovery, the fish registered 25,800 becquerels of caesium per kilo. That is 258 times the level the government deems safe for consumption.  What is even more disturbing is that the fish were caught 20 km away from the plant, which raises all sorts of questions about what the effect on the region’s wildlife has been.

Unsurprisingly other radioactive sea life has been caught since the disaster, but the previous record was 18,700 becquerels per kilo detected in cherry salmons. This new figure blows that away; TEPCO have said that they believe the greenlings might have fed in radioactive hotspots and that they would be sampling more the fish, their feed and the seabed soil in the area to determine the cause of the high radiation.

As part of the ongoing investigation into the effects of radiation on Japan’s coastal life, fishermen have been catching several kinds of fish and shellfish, but only in areas more than 50 kilometres off the plant. Currently, they have shown only small amounts of radioactivity – until now.

+ Tokyo Electric Power Co.


Images: Arian Zwegers and Ed Bierman