Radiated tuna splashes up in California

A potential bidder carefully examines pieces of tuna in order to ascertain the quality and to estimate its price ahead of the tuna auction at the Tsukiji fish market on February 28, 2012 in Tokyo, Japan. A bluefin tuna has carried radioactive contamination that leaked from Japan's crippled nuclear plant to the shores of the United States 6,000 miles away. But health authorities say it's no threat to the U.S. food supply.

Kai Ryssdal: You've heard about the radioactive fish, right? Bluefin tuna that've been found off the coast of California, carrying radiation from the Fukushima meltdown in Japan all the way across the Pacific. That's about as far a quick glance at the headlines get you.

Turns out, there's not all that much to get worked up about. Marketplace's Adriene Hill explains why.


Adriene Hill: The news doesn’t affect you tuna sandwich eaters.

Gavin Gibbons: This is high-end, sushi tuna.

Gavin Gibbons is spokesman for the National Fisheries Institute.

Gibbons: Americans eat about the weight of a few paperclips worth of bluefin, every year, per capita.

It also doesn’t mean anything to those of you who crave spicy tuna rolls.

Logan Kock: No one would waste their bluefin on that.

Logan Kock is the V.P. of purchasing for Santa Monica Seafood.

Kock: Bluefin tuna, on the Japanese auctions, are typically some of the most expensive fish ever.

And, even for you listeners (and, this is public radio, so I know you’re out there) even for those of you who love your pricey sushi, this news shouldn’t put you off. The level of radiation the researchers found in the bluefin tuna is below safe-levels established by the U.S. government.

But:

Tom Pickerell: We would be advising people to avoid bluefin tuna anyway.

Dr. Tom Pickerell is a researcher at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch. He suggests people avoid the fish because there just aren’t that many of them left swimming around and catching them often involves killing other sea critters.

I'm Adriene Hill for Marketplace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...