State tests show no radioactive contamination of clams, fish

November 24, 2013 

In response to questions from diggers, the state said that in tests done to date, no fish or shellfish off the Pacific coast have radioactive contamination that would pose a risk to people who eat them.

Dan Ayres, the coastal shellfish manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, said he has heard from people that razor clams might be contaminated with radioactive material from the damaged nuclear power plant in Fukushima, Japan.

In a message sent to people on a razor clam email list, Ayres said the state Department of Health has tested a limited amount of fish and shellfish to look for radioactivity from nuclear power plant that was damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The Health Department has test albacore tuna caught in the waters off the Pacific coast, one from before the Fukushima disaster and one caught after. In addition, the department has tested one salmon, one steelhead, as well as razor clams and other shellfish after the Fukushima disaster.

That agency will continue to test fish and shellfish, focusing on the species most likely to travel across the ocean.

The state also has field-tested hundreds of debris items found on the state’s beaches and found no radioactive contamination. The consensus among scientists is that it’s highly unlikely that any tsunami debris from Japan is radioactive, the email said.

“The tsunami created debris from a large stretch of Japan’s coast, but the leak from the damaged Fukushima reactor occurred in one place. The leak of contaminated water from the reactor started days to weeks after the tsunami debris had washed out to sea. By the time the radioactive water leak developed, the debris was already in the ocean, miles away from the reactor,” according to the email.

The News Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service