State: Alaska seafood safe; Inletkeeper to test water

The state of Alaska received word from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that seafood is safe from Fukushima radiation.

The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health and Social Services developed a plan for sampling several Alaska fish species and asked the FDA to test for radiation from the 2011 disaster.

“We heard concerns from our neighbors, friends and other citizens throughout Alaska about the possible contamination of Alaska fish with the radiation releases from the Fukushima disaster,” DEC Environmental Health Director Elaine Busse Floyd said in a formal statement. “We did not expect to find any problems with Alaska seafood based on federal monitoring of domestic and imported foods. However, we felt that it was important to assist the FDA by developing a sampling plan and obtaining Alaska fish to be tested. The data reassures us and other Alaskans for whom seafood is such a critical part of life in Alaska.”

The testing looked for three Fukushima-related radioisotopes in several fish species that are known to migrate across the western Pacific Ocean. Those isotopes were not detected, although some background or naturally-occurring radiation was found.

Cook Inletkeeper also is planning its own testing this summer.

The Homer-based nonprofit is working with scientists from Wood Hole’s Center for Marine and Environmental Radiation to take and test water samples from Cook Inlet.

According to a release from Cook Inletkeeper, scientists there have not found evidence of a problem, but want to confirm that Cook Inlet is safe. The study is being crowd-funded, with the organization looking to raise about $3,000 for three tests this summer. According to Cook Inletkeeper’s website, $560 was raised through June 30.