Fish with deadly levels of radioactive cesium have been caught just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, as scientists continue to assess the damage caused to the marine food chain by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
One of the samples of the 37 black sea bream specimens caught some 37 kilometers south of the crippled power plant tested at 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, making it 124 times deadlier than the threshold considered safe for human consumption, Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency announced.
The samples were caught at the mouth of the Niidagawa river in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on November 17. Two other fish caught there also tested non-safe for human consumption, showing radiations levels of 426 and 197 becquerels per kilogram. The rest of the fish were reportedly within safety limits.
Black sea bream are currently restricted from being fished in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and sold for human consumption, as scientists from the Fisheries Research Agency say they plan to investigate the source of the contamination further.
After the Fukushima disaster, Japan lowered its threshold for cesium levels in food from 500 becquerels per kg to 100 becquerels per kilo, making the country’s regulations six times stricter than European Union standards. The record cesium reading was recorded last year when a fish caught near the plant carried 740,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.