Fukushima – is the ocean safe?

 By Jackie Lindsey, Vertebrate Ecology Lab

If you are a marine scientist, you may have had the same experience that I did over the recent holiday break - all of my relatives want to know if I think our seafood is safe from Fukushima radiation.  If you aren't a marine scientist, you and I may still have something in common - this topic is not my current focus of study and I will (probably) never be one of the "experts" on this matter.  However,  I have started to do some extra research.  I may not be an expert on food safety inspections or the dispersal of different types of radiation, but I do have some ideas about where to look when I don't know all of the answers.  This is what I told my relatives:

Let's do some research!

If you want to become informed about Fukushima radiation, its dispersal and dilution in the ocean, and the safety of seafood caught here on the US Pacific coast, I have some links for you.  Many of these links come from one of my favorite blogs to follow:

Deep Sea News

They often invite guest experts to blog their opinions on topical issues, and they compile and analyze news and journal articles about some of the latest and greatest in ocean science.  They answer commenter's questions and are also a little bit snarky.  (Both are appealing to me as a reader.)

The links I promised:

A good overview

An example of a misunderstood publication on the subject

An explanation of some confusing radiation-speak

Testing some California sand

Tuna safety

A PNAS article for you technical-paper junkies

An expert's review of sea star wasting and the radiation scare


Reading Rainbow
(Reading Rainbow)

Stay informed!  Science updates all the time, journalists don't always understand the findings they report, and our news is filled with "facts" to keep you glued to the screen until the next segment.  So "Don't Panic", but do your research! For the time being, it looks like I can continue to enjoy low-radiation-risk cioppino by the bucketful.