PALO ALTO (KCBS) – Scientists in the U.S. have detected radiation in tuna that migrated from the waters of Japan to the coast of California.

The Pacific bluefin tuna, which migrates from off the coast of Japan to California each year, were found to contain higher than normal levels of two types of cesium.

Daniel Madigan with Stanford University was one of the lead authors of the study, which was released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“One of our major goals in putting the paper out there was to encourage other people who study migratory animals that may have moved from Japan to look for things like this,” said Madigan.

KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:

The tuna were caught by sport fishermen near San Diego and are not the type sold in U.S. markets.

This marks the first time that a huge migrating fish has carried radioactivity such a distance. The level of radiation was 10 times higher than the amount measured in previous years, but still far below safe-to-eat limits.

But Chris Harrold, Director of Conservation Research at Monterey Bay Aquarium, said there is still an important message in the findings.

“We now know that something that happened in Japan, we’re seeing the impacts here in California,” said Harrold. “There were probably lots of other events, both natural and man-caused, that are transmitted in other parts of the world in ways that we don’t know.”

Previously, smaller fish had carried elevated levels of radiation following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan last March, which badly damaged nuclear reactors in the country.

Read the full journal text

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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