Nearly two years after a devastating earthquake crippled the Fukushima nuclear-power plant, a record cesium level has been detected in a fish in the area.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper has reported that a greenling registered 510,000 becquerels per kilogram. That's 5,100 times the Japanese government's standard.
A rockfish caught in the area in mid-February contained 277,000 becquerels per kilogram.
These numbers vastly exceed alarmingly high figures reported by journalist Alex Roslin in the Georgia Straight last July for fish caught in Japanese waters.
Here's what Roslin wrote at the time:
The numbers show that far from dissipating with time, as government officials and scientists in Canada and elsewhere claimed they would, levels of radiation from Fukushima have stayed stubbornly high in fish. In June 2012, the average contaminated fish catch had 65 becquerels of cesium per kilo. That’s much higher than the average of five Bq/kg found in the days after the accident back in March 2011, before cesium from Fukushima had spread widely through the region’s food chain.
In some species, radiation levels are actually higher this year than last.
The highest cesium level in all of the catches came in March—a year after the accident—when a landlocked masu salmon caught in a Japanese river was found to have a whopping 18,700 becquerels of cesium per kilogram—or 187 times Japan’s ceiling.
Roslin noted that these cesium levels have received virtually no recognition by North American journalists or scientists.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, exposure to radiation from cesium-137 elevates people's risk of cancer.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency says on its website that it "continues to monitor events in Japan and assess any potential impoacts on Canada's food supply".
But the last test result listed for imported Japanese fish on the CFIA website was on June 8, 2011.
It leaves us wondering if Canadian government officials are even aware that cesium levels have reached record levels in Japan only in the past month.
Meanwhile, a recent study on radiation levels in bluefin tuna suggests that radioactive water continues leaking from the Fukushima nuclear-power plant.