Fukushima & Alaskan Seafood

  • Most folks buy my salmon to feed their families,  specifically their children, so know that I take concerns about the Japanese nuclear situation, as it relates to Alaskan seafood, very seriously. My wife and I have a 3 year old.

    There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that indicates that any Alaskan seafood is showing even trace amounts of radiation. Alaska DEC (Dep. of Environmental Control) is testing fish around the state as is the US Federal Government (FDA and EPA). Neither have found any levels of ration in their tests. They say that Bristol Bay salmon are “approved for unlimited consumption.”

    Click here for a State of Alaska website with much more info.

    Water dissipates radiation very rapidly, apparently, and water 18 miles from the meltdown site is considered drinkable by the US Federal Government and state of Alaska. Where I fish is more than 3,000 miles away from Fukushima site. The Bering sea, where I fish, is a closed current system that circulates mostly with the Arctic Ocean around the north Pole–the opposite direction from Japan. Most of our fish are in the Bering Sea their entire lives and some are in the Gulf of Alaska. None are ever anywhere near Japan. Have a look at this map of Alaska and you will see what I mean:

    The fish that are capturing the headlines in regard to the Fukushima disaster are tuna. Some tuna migrate from Japan to California which means they are traveling from ground zero to the West Coast. This incredible migration is why some have tested positive for very low levels of radiation. However, the media has overblown the risk even in this case. Radiation understandably scares people and some exploit that. (I have a masters degree in environmental journalism, which gives me a unique appreciation for the shortcomings and strengths of the media). The now infamous (and terrifying) image showing a band of red oozing from Japan east to the US was used absolutely inaccurately by unscrupulous journalists to show the path of radiation when the graphic was actually created by scientist to show wave energy from the earthquake that caused the meltdown. Click here for the Japanese earthquake wave energy map.

    The US Federal Government tested from a sample of tuna off the West coast and found “elevated” levels of radiation. This sounds scary. But what the original study shows when you read it, but some of the articles about the study neglected, is that the tuna showing elevated levels of radiation were still 300% below the “safe” level set by the US Federal Government. Additionally, radiation very quickly “migrates” out of organic tissue (fish flesh), whereas mercury, PCB and other toxins not found in salmon but found in large species like tuna, stays there forever. But this is tuna we are talking about of course–nothing like salmon. Salmon show NO signs of radiation and go nowhere near Japan. If someone is going to avoid tuna, avoid it for the mercury, not the radiation. Tuna are long lived as well and they eat from high on the food chain––a recipe for the bioaccumulation of toxins from the environment. Salmon on the other hand are short lived (2-6 years before returning to their birth-river where they spawn and die) and they eat from the bottom of the food chain (sockeye eat krill, which eat the sun)–no other fish larger than your finger can make such a boast. This is one of the main reasons wild Alaskan salmon is almost certainly the healthiest protein available.

    Although we wholeheartedly stand behind Alaskan salmon in respect to the Japan situation and I feed my catch to my own family without pause, I now know what it means to be a parent and question, with a chemists/nutritionists eye, the foods I put on my family’s table. I would encourage you to read a little more about it, but ultimately, if you have any reservations at all in light of the research, I would skip anything that concerns you and avoid the worry, whether founded or unfounded.

    Regardless of which route you take, we are of course 100% behind you.