Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Salmon Migration Routes and Japan's Radiation Plume

Below is from a New York Times interactive map (which is pretty cool) showing how weather patterns might disperse radiation from Fukushima, Japan. It was a forecast from March 16, not actual readings. It does not include additional radiation that was released earlier this week from explosions, fires, and controlled releases.

This is a map of wild salmon migration routes in the middle and north Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Alaska.

And a bit of data this morning from Toyota Electic Power Company which runs the nuclear power plant:
"Tokyo Electric said radioactive iodine about 127 times normal levels and radioactive cesium about 25 times above the norm were detected in seawater 100 meters (yards) off the Fukushima nuclear plant."
- Power Lines Up In Progress At Japan Nuclear Plant, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, March 21, 2011
There are a lot of variables here, things I don't understand like water currents, weather patterns, migration seasons. And certainly a lot of other sea creatures and plants will be affected. I thought of salmon because I read recently that the industry is what keeps many Alaska natives from sinking below the poverty line (from Four Fish by Paul Greenberg). It does appear, from this circumstantial and elemental data, that the industry could be affected.

Update, March 26, 2011: Are Alaska Fisheries At Risk? Radiation in seawater spikes to 1,250 times normal.
Update, March 31, 2011: CNN, Radiation in seawater spikes to 4,385 times regulatory limit.
Update, April 5, 2011: LATimes, Japan's ocean radiation hits 7.5 million times legal limit.
Map of salmon migration from GoldSeal.
"The confirmed death toll from the earthquake and tsunami has risen to 9,408, and more than 14,700 people are listed as missing. An estimated half a million people have been made homeless." Also, radiation has affected Tokyo's water supply and is "unfit for babies to drink." -BBC, March 23


Bix said...

I was not thinking of salmon being affected directly. I was thinking that the seafood they eat, and the seafood and sea plants they in turn eat, may contain isotopes that would concentrate as they move up the food chain. Or that the seafood salmon eat may themselves be reduced in number, lowering the number of salmon returning to spawn.

It may well be that the solvent (the ocean) is large enough to dilute these particles to harmless levels.

Claudia said...

Harmless, are you kidding? Fish is the wild west of food. The government isn't going to tell us if salmon is genetically modified, you think they'll tell us if it's contaminated with radiation? "It's just a little." A little mercury, a little radiation, a little PCBs. No, instead they tell us "Eat fish! It's good for you!"

Anonymous said...

We'll switch to Soylent Green.

Anonymous said...

Haven't you heard? SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

as Soylent Green = people
and people are full of crap
would't it be better to compost people and eat a nice salad instead? ;b

Angela and Melinda said...

We get it, Anonymous. Anyone old enough saw that movie.