- Caught as part of Tokyo Electric’s scheme to monitor seafood near the plant
- Firm says nets will now be installed 20km off the coast to try and prevent contaminated fish migrating
- Fish lives in shallow reefs near the plant
- Comes as the two year anniversary of the nuclear disaster approaches
A fish caught close the the Fukushima nuclear plant is over 2,500 times the legal safe radiation limit for seafood, the plant’s operator has revealed.
The company Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) caught the fish, dubbed ‘Mike the Murasai’ online, in the bay close to the Fukukshima Daiichi main reactor.
It was confirmed by Tepco to have amounts of radioactive cesium equal to 254,000 becquerels per kilogram, or 2540 times the limit of 100 becquerels/kg set for seafood by the government.
Scientists in the region are increasingly worried that other fish in the area are feeding off these and other contaminated species.
However, the murasoi specimen caught near Fukushima did not seem to show any major abnormalities in terms of its physical appearance.
Tepco is installing a new series of nets beneath the surface of the water around the 20 kilometer perimeter in hopes of restricting the migration of the contaminated fish outside of the region.
A report in October last year found radiation levels in most kinds of fish caught off the coast of Fukushima haven’t declined in the year following Japan’s nuclear disaster in March 2011.
An earthquake knocked out nuclear plant’s cooling system, causing three reactor cores to melt and spew radiation into the ocean.
Researchers believe that deposits of the chemical cesium on the seafloor or leakage from the damaged reactors is continuing to contaminate the waters – and has the potential to threaten fisheries for decades.
The levels in the fish are also 10 times higher than the radiation measured last August in scorpion fish caught near Fukushima.
On 21 August last year, Tepco announced that rockfish caught in the Pacific Ocean within the circular area of 20 km around the plant, which is closed to all human activity, had a level of 25,800 becquerels of cesium per kilogram .
The fish is a murasoi, which typically lives in shallow waters near reefs in the region.