The following is a press release issued by the State of Alaska, Department of Environmental Conservation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 30, 2015
CONTACT: Marlena Brewer, (907) 269-1099, firstname.lastname@example.org
No Fukushima-Related Radiation Detected in Alaska Seafood
Sampling Partnership Receives FDA Award
(JUNEAU, AK) – Following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in
Japan, there have been public concerns about potential impacts on Alaska
seafood from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Although modeling and other
analyses have not demonstrated a potential risk to Alaska fish, the Alaska
Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Environmental
Health (DEH) has been coordinating with the Department of Health and
Social Services (DHSS) Division of Public Health, as well as other state,
federal, and international agencies and organizations to address continued
Through these efforts, DEC was able to partner with the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) to have Alaska fish sampled and tested for
Fukushima-related radionuclides and report test results to the public. The
testing in 2015 continues to confirm that the quality of Alaska seafood has
not been impacted, with all tests showing “non-detect” for radionuclides
associated with the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
DEC’s Fish Monitoring Program and Food Safety and Sanitation Program
developed a plan to collect and test representative samples of Alaska fish
species that spend part of their life cycle in the western Pacific Ocean and
are important to subsistence, sport, and commercial fisheries. These
species included: king (Chinook) salmon, chum (dog) salmon, sockeye (red)
salmon, pink salmon (humpies), halibut, pollock, sablefish, and Pacific cod.
DEC Environmental Health Officers around the state collected the samples
during their regular inspections of commercial fishing processors. Fish
samples were collected using FDA statistical protocols and were then
shipped to the FDA’s Winchester Engineering Analytical Center for
The results of testing conducted on Alaska fish in 2014, and previously
reported by DEC, showed no detection of Fukushima-related radionuclides
Iodine-131 (I-131), Cesium-134 (Cs-134), and Cesium-137 (Cs-137).
Because scientists were predicting the concentrations of radionuclides in
North Pacific waters could peak in 2015, DEC continued the sampling
program this summer. Samples in 2015 were again analyzed for
Fukushima-related radionuclides and, as in the previous year, had no
detectable levels of Fukushima-related radionuclides. These data, along
with modeling and monitoring data from multiple agencies and
organizations, continue to show fish from Alaska waters are safe from
radionuclides related to the nuclear reactor damage in Japan.
Water quality data from a crowd-funded project spearheaded by the nonprofit
Cook Inletkeeper also appears to support this conclusion. In 2014,
they tested waters in Lower Cook Inlet for radiation, and the results
reported were also non-detect for Fukushima-related radiation. Scientists
at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have also tested along the
Pacific West Coast and found no levels of concern.
The collaborative effort of the Alaska Fish Radiation Radionuclide Sampling
Partnership has resulted in a national group recognition award in 2015 from
the FDA. The award, which included DEC and DHSS staff, recognized
exemplary service to the State of Alaska in providing sampling techniques
and quality control measures for fish. Their work not only alleviated the
public’s concern over a primary food source in Alaska, but also
strengthened the reputation of Alaska’s commercial fisheries as one of the
most wholesome food sources on the planet.
According to DEC Commissioner Larry Hartig, “The State’s ability to point to
lab analyses in confirming the health of Alaska’s fisheries is important to
consumers in Alaska and to the national and international markets for our
seafood. These analyses can also alert us to new sources of contamination.
One of our goals at DEC is to sustain a collaborative Fish Monitoring
Program that helps meet these needs.”
For a full listing of the 2015 FDA radionuclide testing results for Alaska,
For more Alaska-specific information about Fukushima-related radiation
exposure, visit DHSS’s website:
For more detailed information on the analyses, visit DEC’s website:
For more information about other testing DEC performs on Alaska fish,
please see: https://dec.alaska.gov/eh/vet/fish.htm.