The effects of the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster extend further than was predicted when the event occurred.
Evidence collated by officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s lab in Seattle suggests that fish swimming in the Pacific Ocean close to the plant are becoming contaminated which means that there is a serious risk of radiation entering the human food chain, even far beyond Japan's territorial waters.
Merely choosing not to consume fish caught in the Pacific may not be sufficient to avoid the problem; certain species, such as tuna and sock-eye salmon, migrate very long distances spanning from Japan to North America, and contaminated tuna have also been found swimming in Californian waters.
Stocks of seafood are also likely to be affected in future, as the effects of the radiation are often severe enough to kill those fish affected: 100% of the herring caught by scientist Alexandra Morton in Canadian waters recently were found to be hemorrhaging extensively from their gills, fins, eyes and chins.
Where will all of this end? Aside from the human impact, fish are one of the primary food sources for many aquatic mammals, such as sea lions and dolphins, so I think we can guess that the future could look bleak for marine life. It is clear that a radiation-testing program for fisheries needs to be implemented without further delay, though this is merely damage control. Unfortunately, there is every chance that this problem will still be being monitored by our children in the decades to come.
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