Radioactive Bluefin Arrive in California

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Maguro Photo: Paul Keller via Flickr

Just as you'd probably feared, radiation leaked from Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors has finally registered in California's seafood. The AP reports on a discovery of Pacific bluefin tuna with levels of radioactive cesium ten times what is typical in the species. Samples of the fish, which migrate to the seas of Baja and California after spawning in Japan, were discovered to have two types of radioactive cesium, traceable to Japan's catastrophe as samples of bluefin that preceded the accident were found to not be similarly affected.

The fish are believed to have picked up this much radiation while swimming in contaminated waters and eating radioactive krill and squid. Some of the radiation had been shed as these particular tuna grew bigger while swimming east to California, but are predicted to be much less radioactive than a coming school of bluefin that had longer exposure to radioactive waters and prey. Great, right?

Given the over-fished status of bluefin, could a little radiation scare actually prove to be the species' savior as consumers grow frightened of its fatty charm? There's a slight chance, especially considering one of the lead researchers believes these radioactive bluefin, whose celesium levels are still considered safe to eat by the Japanese government, will eventually shed some of their radiation at a rate of two percent each day, if not their glowing reputation.

Either way, we may take our chances with celsium-infused nigiri before taking a sip of Philadelphia tap.

Radioactive bluefin tuna crossed the Pacific to US [AP]