Fish with very high levels of cesium found near Fukushima

January 11, 2014

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN

A fish contaminated with extremely high levels of radiation was found in waters near the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a government-affiliated research institute said.

The Fisheries Research Agency said Jan. 10 the black sea bream had 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, 124 times the safety standards for foodstuffs.

The fish was caught at the mouth of the Niidagawa river in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on Nov. 17. The site is 37 kilometers south of the stricken power plant.

It was one of 37 fish-–all black sea bream--that researchers caught in waters in and off Iwaki in October and November to study the level of radiation to which they were exposed.

The research institute said it will study the fish further to try and determine when it became contaminated with such high levels of radioactive cesium.

Two other fish also exceeded the safety standards of 100 becquerels per kilogram, at 426 becquerels and 197 becquerels, respectively.

The readings of the remaining 34 fish were within the safety limits, according to the Fisheries Research Agency.

Officials said black sea bream in the region that was covered by the recent study have not been circulated as food in fish markets.

Black sea bream fishing in coastal waters off Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures is currently restricted.

They are also on the list of fish that local fishermen are asked to voluntarily refrain from catching in the northern municipalities of Ibaraki Prefecture, which is located just south of Fukushima Prefecture.

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
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Fishermen sort their catches after test fishing to obtain samples off the coast of northern Fukushima Prefecture in September. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

Fishermen sort their catches after test fishing to obtain samples off the coast of northern Fukushima Prefecture in September. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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  • Fishermen sort their catches after test fishing to obtain samples off the coast of northern Fukushima Prefecture in September. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

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