DEC to State Senate: Fukushima Radiation Not a Risk to Alaska's Fish

Thursday, January 23 2014

The state Senate Resources Committee got an overview Wednesday of how Alaska is dealing with potential impacts of radiation from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and tsunami in Japan.

Environmental Conservation commissioner Larry Hartig told committee members that his department is monitoring marine debris washing ashore in Southeast Alaska and the Prince William Sound.

"For now, we have a lot more debris than we used to have that came in from Japan, and Alaska got more than its share of it," he said. "Most of it’s been just solid waste -- it hasn’t been anything that’s what we would deem as hazardous waste."

He said the DEC doesn’t have a separate program to keep an eye out for radiation in the debris. Since it flows here via California and Washington, he said federal programs in those states have it covered.

"They have been monitoring for radiation, and they’re not seeing any kind of levels of human concern," he said. "So when we look at this, there hasn’t been a driving need in Alaska to try to institute a program, particularly where we’d be starting it from scratch."

Committee members wanted reassurance that Alaska’s fish stocks weren’t at risk, either. Hartig said the programs in the Lower 48 are testing fish that swim between the Gulf of Alaska, the West Coast and Japan, and they’re sure the fish are safe to eat.

"It worries me, frankly, when you see speculation, because we sell our fish in the international market, and there’s people that would love to discourage Alaska fish," he said. "We’ve got to be careful when we throw things out there that we have an industry that’s dependent on the reputation of our fish."

He said they’re working with other groups in the state to reassure buyers that Alaskan fish aren’t contaminated.

Hartig’s presentation was part of a committee overview of all of DEC’s programs. It was the committee’s first meeting of the new legislative session.

Something fishy on Sunday, January 26 2014: me-those fish are just fine....don't let that funny glow concern you.

Dave Stevens on Friday, January 24 2014:

Loki Fish had their pinks analysed and they found radioactive cesium. They sent me the lab report

A.Weber on Thursday, January 23 2014:

I think that Alaska SHOULD implement their own testing standards, and NOT leave it up to WA state and CA alone. Thats just a good way of saying "when things go wrong (and they will) we want someone else to blame". Your pristine area of the country is yours to manage (I lived there as a child - just breath taking) We don't mind helping (lives in WA State), but for goodness sakes be invoved, don't pass the buck. Don't let it be passed on your watch. WE ALL are in this TOGETHER.

Sarah on Thursday, January 23 2014:

My family has stopped eating pacific fish. The lack of testing and transparency surrounding this issue has been disturbing. Even if the risk is minimal at this point, it will increase. At what point will the public be notified? I'm not an anti-nuclear activist or even an active environmentalist. I'm simply a concerned parent.

If you want your fishing industry back, press for action to stop the leaking at Fukushima now. Bring awareness to the issue so an international team can take over and make every effort to stop the leaking of radioactive water in the Pacific. A flow that has been continuous since March 2011.

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