PUBLISHED FEB 8, 2022 3:00 PM BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE
Radiation continues to plague local fisheries near Fukushima, Japan, a decade after a massive earthquake caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. On Tuesday, Japanese health officials said that they would halt all consignments of black rockfish from the region because testing in January found excessive levels of radioactivity.
It is not the first time: in February 2021, rockfish catches near Fukushima tested out with five times the permitted radiation level allowed by the Japanese government, registering 500 Becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilo. The fish were caught about four nm off the coast. By comparison, West Coast bluefin tuna test out at less than one Becquerel per kilo.
The landscape surrounding the plant was heavily contaminated with cesium from fallout from the reactor meltdown in 2011. While the Japanese government has remediated human-occupied areas by removing the topsoil, forests and rural areas have not been treated, according to researchers – leaving an abundant reserve of dangerous radioactive isotopes in the surface soil layer. This contamination washes down into streams when it rains, entering the food web.