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Death by Media: Radioactive Days

I woke up Sunday AM and by habit, tuned in to CBS news radio. The dulcet tones of news guy Harley Carnes related how radioactive bluefish tuna swam all the way from Japan to our west coast. And then he told us not to worry; the fish were perfectly OK to eat since the added radioactivity was only 2% of what occurs naturally.

You first, Harley.

I tried to find a verifying transcript, but all I could locate was this thread comment on an obscure site:

but harley carnes on kcbs said it was ok to eat, according to the "official"

so, num,num

sushi anyone

If you listen closely, you can hear an elite "Haw haw haw!!" from Versailles.

PS - I originally found 5 Google links to this story. So I investigated one of them (the one you see above). When I resurfaced, only 2 links were still there.

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Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

Bluefin tuna in particular are a well studied pelagic species. I do not know whether anyone made a high profile prediction about when radioactive fish would appear off the West Coast, but this should have been no surprise. Tuna catch regulations have been based on this sort of migratory pattern for a long time. These extraordinarily valuable fish are not unique. All pelagic species migrate very long distances. The rest of the tunas, billfish, sharks, and similar top predators are going to be bringing the same radioactive contaminants. Pacific salmon feed on the same high seas through which this contamination is being conveyed; whales and other marine mammals are almost surely being impacted as well. I think that we can count on far more stories about this.

Salmo's picture
Submitted by Salmo on

General "radioactivity" comparisons are meaningless. Which types of radioactivity are we talking about, which radioactive materials (and what are their daughter products)? It's not simple. I agree with your skepticism about the risk of harm, all is almost surely not well.

okanogen's picture
Submitted by okanogen on

The whole phenomenon of having sushi sitting on the shelf in the middle of, well, 99% of most places anywhere in the world is destroying the world's fisheries. Bluefin tuna is one of the hardest hit.

I think the "Hey, this shit is radioactive!" label is a blessing in disguise.