Excerpts from ‘Radiological Dose Rates to Marine Fish from the Fukushima Daiichi Accident: The First Three Years Across the North Pacific’, includes authors from Japan’s National Institute of Radiological Sciences and Oregon St. Univ., 2015 (emphasis added):
- A more complete record is emerging of radionuclide measurements in fish [from] across the Pacific… Fish 100–200 km east of [Fukushima], coastal fish in the Aleutian Islands… and trans-Pacific migratory species, all had increased dose rates as a consequence of the FDNPP accident.
- FDNPP produced the largest single-event influx of radioactive cesium isotopes into the Pacific [137Cs up to 90 PBq; Chernobyl total: 70-85 PBq].
- Dose rates to the most impacted fish species near the FDNPP have remained above benchmark levels for potential dose effects at least three years longer than was indicated by previous, data-limited, evaluations.
- [Strontium-90] was estimated to contribute up to approximately one-half of the total 2013 dose rate to fish near the FDNPP.
- Evaluations… suggested that the dose rates to fish near the FDNPP… only briefly remained above the benchmark levels for potential harmful effects… However, subsequent data have indicated highly elevated and persistent accumulation of Cs.
- Maximally exposed fish near the FDNPP [had] an increase of more than six orders of magnitude… The elevated activity concentrations were not isolated to one sample, or one species. In 2013, activity concentrations of 134,137Cs exceeding [100,000 Bq] kg were measured in more than 100 fish from ten species sampled from FDNPP port… concentrations in [some species] are orders of magnitude higher than predicted.
- Some of the released radionuclides are being carried long distances…
- At Amchitka Island [in Alaska] the 134,137Cs dose rates to [greenling and rockfish] were only slightly higher than pre-event levels… The increase… appears to be due to atmospheric transport from Fukushima as 134Cs was measured… in freshwater fish [11 Bq/kg in trout].
- Detections of 134Cs in California water samples gathered in August 2014… suggest incremental dose rate increases to resident fish.
- Fish at 100–200 km east of the FDNPP, coastal fish in the Aleutian Islands, and trans-Pacific migratory species all had increased dose rates.
- Persistence of the radionuclides in fish was not anticipated by existing models…ongoing measurements are needed at locations near the FDNPP and further along the predicted plume trajectory… Some areas that have experienced air deposition in 2011 (e.g. Aleutian Islands), should continue monitoring as they may experience a second arrival of 134,137Cs in subsequent years via an oceanic plume.
- This study was in collaboration with the… IAEA
NOAA, Feb 18, 2015 (pdf): We are seeing an unusually large increase of California sea lion pups stranding [that’s] intensified over the last few weeks… it is very difficult to pinpoint what is causing the increase… [There are] warmer waters than usual, but an official El Nino has not yet been declared… [We are] preparing for the worst… health trends of marine mammals [inform] us about the health of the entire ecosystem… if the stranding numbers exceed the 2013 UME [facilities will be unable to] accept more animals… animals may be left on the beach [or] humanely euthanized.
Malibu Surfside News, Mar 3, 2015: The number of animals that can be rescued and rehabilitated is very small compared to the total number of pups in distress… in 2013, Federal officials estimated that 70 percent of the total number [~35,000 out of 50,000 newborns] may have died and experts say that the numbers may be even higher this year.
Quartz, Feb 27, 2015: This phenomenon is unprecedented in scale: in January… more than twice the highest number previously recorded… February has been even worse… Jim Milbury [of NOAA said] a total of 1,200 sea lions have reached California since the beginning of the year… [It was a] much less significant event in 2013.
Malibu Times, Feb 25, 2015: The California Wildlife Center [at this] time last year… had facilitated seven rescues. As of the beginning of this week, 129 rescues have been performed… CWC is alsoencountering many sea lions that have washed ashore dead.
The Oregonian, Feb 26, 2015: Oceana saysthousands of sea lion pups… have died on the West Coast this year…
Press Democrat, Feb 25, 2015: A crisis [of] stranded pups and older animals arriving starved and sick on coastal shores has reached the Sonoma Coast, where six animals have been recovered in recent weeks, according to the Marine Mammal Center near Sausalito. All of them — four pups and two adults — later perished because of their weakened physical state.
Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at The Marine Mammal Center, Feb 16, 2015 (at 3:30 in): [It’s] the third year we’ve seen an increased number of sea lion strandings… It’sdefinitely an indication that the sea is not its normal self… The sea lions are sentinels of the sea… it really indicates there’s a bigger issue happening in the ocean. – (at 13:00 in) At the MMC we have over 200 right now… which is incredibly abnormal. Normally this time of year we would have no sea lions pups. — (at 17:00 in) The sea lions are telling us that there’s a lack of fish. The cause of that is still being investigated… Really, we should be worried about what’s happening out there right now [it] could be directly related to…us in the future.