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Page added on February 24, 2014

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Dying Starfish may be due to Fukushima Radiation


Incredibly, a San Luis Obispo, California “mainstream” newspaper – The Tribune – published a 408-word article Tuesday about the widespread epidemic of dying starfish in coastal tidepools and not one of those words was “Fukushima,” or “radiation.”

“The cause of the disease is an unidentified pathogen that causes the animals to look deflated or have unnatural twisting to its arms. The disease then progresses to a bacterial infection that often leads to loss of arms and death.”

The University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) website that The Tribune linked to for “more information” also did not mention Fukushima, or radiation.

“As of Summer, 2013, there is evidence that we are at the onset of another Wasting event and one that is particularly troubling because of its spatial extent. MARINe monitoring groups have documented Wasting in Pisaster ochraceus from Alaska through California…”

I’m particularly troubled, too, because a simple search for:

dying starfish fukushima

Brought up this 2011 report from Yale:

“With contaminated water from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear complex continuing to pour into the Pacific, scientists are concerned about how that radioactivity might affect marine life. Although the ocean’s capacity to dilute radiation is huge, signs are that nuclear isotopes are already moving up the local food chain.” ~ Elizabeth Grossman, “Radioactivity in the Ocean: Diluted, But Far from Harmless”

Grossman mentions a previous massive starfish die-off in the White Sea in the 1990s, which was “variously attributed by Russian scientists to pollution or nuclear contamination.”

And, given that “thousands of tons of radioactively contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are pouring directly into the ocean,” Grossman expressed acute alarm and contended that “scientists agree that the governments of Japan, the United States, and other nations on the Pacific Rim need to ramp up studies of how far this contamination might spread and in what concentrations.”

Concentrations of cesium-137 in seawater 10 to 30 kilometers off the Japanese coast from March 23 to March 30.

“Though the vastness of the ocean has the capacity to dilute nuclear contamination, signs of spreading radioactive material are being found off Japan, including the discovery of elevated concentrations of radioactive cesium and iodine in small fish several dozen miles south of Fukushima, and high levels of radioactivity in seawater 25 miles offshore.” ~ Elizabeth Grossman, “Radioactivity in the Ocean: Diluted, But Far from Harmless”

Grossman also quotes Ken Buesseler, senior scientist in marine chemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, as saying, “Given that the Fukushima nuclear power plant is on the ocean, and with leaks and runoff directly to the ocean, the impacts on the ocean will exceed those of Chernobyl, which was hundreds of miles from any sea.”

In the meantime, as recently as December 2013, the San Francisco Chronicle states that UCSC biologists and scientists from various other universities “are looking for marine biotoxins and viruses and exploring a variety of possible sources, including radiation from the debris that washed across the Pacific Ocean after the Fukushima disaster. ‘We’re not throwing anything out yet,’ [Pete] Raimondi said.”

“There is something going on in the water. Unfortunately, we’re not really sure what it is, so we really don’t have the ability to say what it isn’t.” ~ Michael Murray, Director of Veterinary Services at Monterey Bay Aquarium

“Something” going on in the water? He’s kidding, right?

Study shows Fukushima nuclear pollution becoming more concentrated as it approaches U.S. West Coast — Plume crosses ocean in a nearly straight line toward N. America — Appears to stay together with little dispersion

Cousteau warns Californians about Fukushima plume: It could be dangerous, keeping eye on reports; I’m not touching bluefin tuna, I’m done due to pollution.


17 Comments on "Dying Starfish may be due to Fukushima Radiation"

  1. Plantagenet on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 6:56 pm 

    The same disease is affecting starfish on the US Atlantic coast. Unless there is a secret tunnel under the US allowing the mixing of water from the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, this would rule out the Fukushima hypothesis.

  2. Nony on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 6:59 pm 

    How did the pathogen spread?

  3. keith on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 7:10 pm 

    The starfish death’s in the Atlantic is localized off Maine,NH. Since starfish deaths on both Coasts is at the speculation stage, linking the two is not prudent at this juncture. How many years have we’ve studied the die-off of Bee’s?
    We still don’t fully understand the mechanisms at hand.

  4. surf on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 7:40 pm 

    The star fish die off was not the first one seen in the Pacific North West. However it is unusually wide spread and started at about the same time Fuckushima happened and as a result got more attention.

    At present no one has documented high radiation levels in the starfish and the problem appears to isolated to starfish. There are no reports of a massive wide spread die off of fish, Gray whales, and otters which also eat sea floor organisms

  5. Kenz300 on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 7:53 pm 

    Nuclear energy —- the gift that keeps on giving……

    The cost and environmental damage caused by Fukishima and Chernobyl are too large to calculate. Much of the pollution will never be cleaned up…..

  6. doug nicodemus on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 9:31 pm 

    infowars…why are these frauds included here anyway…they always make stuff up…

  7. Northwest Resident on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 11:05 pm 

    I wonder what SpongeBob Square Pants has to say on this subject.

  8. ghung on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 11:43 pm 

    Starfish feed on filter-feeders; clams, mussels and barnacles, uptaking whatever pathogens or contaminates get filtered from the water by their prey. They also are made up largely of stem cells enabling regeneration of body parts via rapid cell division. It occurs to me that this may make them especially vulnerable to whatever contaminants or pathogens may be in their environment promoting abnormal cell division/growth. They also have a mechanism for shedding damaged or abnormal body parts. One wonders how much caesium, etc., it takes to cause abnormal division in stem cells.

    Just some thoughts.

  9. Nony on Mon, 24th Feb 2014 11:51 pm 

    It’s a big ocean. Those fish are dying from a bug not from reactor leaks.

  10. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 12:22 am 

    Anyone have info on my favorite fish Alaskan Salmon? I am not sure how far they venture out to sea.

    SpongeBob would not let Gary outside I imagine. The chum bucket would falsely advertise the protecting benefits of Chummy patties. Patrick would be in trouble because he is a star fish. Sandy would perform scientific test to determine the dangers. Crabs would try to profit on the hysteria by claiming the crusty crab shields occupants from radiation. Finally Squidward would feel the end of the world is coming and hole up in his house and play melodramatic dirges

  11. SilentRunning on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 12:31 am 

    Natural Background levels of radiation in ocean water are 13 Bq/l, mostly due to Potassium-40, so the the <30 Bq/l measured off of the coast of Japan are not much elevated over background. By the time you get to the west coast of N. America, the radiation levels are essentially just background.

    I also find the "the mainstream media doesn't report it as being caused by Fukushima, therefore IT IS CAUSED by Fukushima! – to be preposterous "reasoning".

  12. Northwest Resident on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 2:00 am 

    Davy — You should be a script writer! That was fun to read.

  13. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 2:42 am 

    Me gots twin 6 year old boys so I see lots of Spongebob and friggin Nintendo 3DS stuff.

  14. chubasco on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 5:22 am 

    Serious conjecture. God I wish for the good ‘ol days of TOD where the SNR was high. It’s no surprise doesn’t appear to get much in the way of comments, this is embarrassing, all the scientists and engineers are scared away. Rockman weighed in lately? No? Hmmmmm…

  15. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 12:17 pm 

    @chubasco – agreed to a point but are we being high and mighty here. We are in a new normal that requires new thinking. Multiple fields of understanding are required from the realities of limits to growth. I would also add that TOD did its duty to the world by hashing out the science of PO. The subtleties are evident. The discussion has moved to the next level. If you are an expert you need to focus on a narrowly defined organization where your discussions can remain in a narrow field. I am finding a real desire by normal people asking the question of what, when, where, and how our survival will be impacted. All of the above affect this state of affairs. I would also argue that it is precisely the overly technical and scientific folks who have got us to this point by not having the full picture and claiming human exceptionalism through science. They are also trying to get us out with the same ideas that got us here. There is a thing called friendship among likeminded individuals. I am worried and scared of the raw facts of collapse if you are not, you lack the finer aspects of human nature. A little humor and friendship can calm the heart. I have few people that will enter these discussion concerning these troubling trends. Just don’t read the noise. Like your computer just delete and filter with a spam program in your head. I see unprecedented challenges ahead. I devour information given on this site that informs me. I have learned allot from many from diverse backgrounds. I do not agree with everything but I see the range of understandings and points of view. I see the range of personalities we will have to accommodate in a contraction. If you understand PO then contraction is the next step. The study of contraction requires more than science. You can contribute or dump us. Prove and explain the SNR. You will be hard pressed. Noise to you is data to others.

  16. Northwest Resident on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 4:00 pm 

    chubasco — If you’re only interested in the dry science and math of the peak oil discussion, there are better places for you to hang out. Many of us have moved far beyond the acceptance of peak oil as a scientifically factual concept and are more focused on what the impacts will be in a world where we are quickly running out of oil. From way up there where you sit, looking down the long narrow ridge of your snooty nose, you may not have noticed that the articles posted here for comment are about multiple subjects — economy, agriculture, environment, oil extraction, etc… So, in fact, the comments you are belittling are actually much more “on topic” than your snooty comment. But thanks for letting us know a little more about yourself.

  17. Northwest Resident on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 4:30 pm 

    chubasco — On second thought, you’re right. Many of the comments on this site and on this article suck. Except for the comments related to SpongeBob Square Pants — those comments are right on topic and brilliantly stated.

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