Press ReleaseJun 1, 2012
Markey Focuses on Fukushima Fish FalloutIssues: Fisheries
Contaminated fish, debris off West Coast raise concerns about long-term impacts of Fukushima disaster on Pacific seafood
WASHINGTON (June 1, 2012) – Responding to reports of fish and debris off the West Coast contaminated from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in Japan, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) today sent letters to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) querying the agencies about their efforts to ensure seafood safety and protect public health.
Bluefin tuna caught near San Diego, California were tainted with elevated levels of radioactive cesium-134, the result of swimming in contaminated waters off the coast of Japan. Additionally, marine debris has begun washing up on the coasts of western states such as Washington and California, bringing with it the possibility of hazardous materials and the need for clean-up.
“Time spent on the West Coast should include watching Pacific Blue waves washing up on shore, not tainted Bluefin tuna,” said Rep. Markey, top democrat on the Natural Resources Committee and senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “The importance of our seafood stocks and the jobs they support require vigilance when monitoring the half-life of radiation present in fish and marine debris. We need to understand the environmental and human health implications of the Fukushima disaster on Pacific seafood, and I look forward to responses from these two agencies.”
In the letters, Rep. Markey asks the agencies to address issues such as long-term impact studies of Pacific seafood, comprehensive monitoring programs of seafood stocks and species, proactive monitoring of Japanese seafood imports, and guidance for fishermen and recreational anglers fishing in the Pacific Ocean.
In the days after the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Reps. Markey and Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) wrote to the FDA asking what the agency was doing to prevent contaminated radioactive food or other agricultural products from entering the U.S. food supply.