Sockeye salmon swimming up the Adams River.

Salmon will be tested for Japanese radiation

Feds scale back monitoring for Fukushima nuke fallout

Returning sockeye salmon will be tested to determine if this year’s run was contaminated by radiation picked up in the North Pacific from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said sampling of salmon and other fish is already underway and will continue through August and September.

The agency expects the tests, planned since June, will show radiation in B.C.-caught salmon is well below levels that would prompt federal action, but calls it a prudent measure to reaffirm its safety for both domestic and export markets.

“We have tested air quality, domestic milk and foods imported from Japan,” CFIA spokesperson Alice D’Anjou said. “No harmful levels of radiation have been detected, and we do not expect this situation to change when fish are tested.”

Results are to be posted on the CFIA website as they become available.

Fraser River sockeye migrate far out into the Pacific, as far west as the Bering Sea, although they were likely on their way back to B.C. when multiple Japanese reactors damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami released radiation through the air and contaminated seawater.

Salmon biologist and activist Alexandra Morton supports the testing.

“My feeling is yeah let’s check,” she said. “A massive amount of radiation was released into the water and air. There’s been radiation readings in seaweed in North Vancouver. I do think it should be investigated.”

On Aug. 11, Health Canada removed nine extra radiation detectors that had been installed in B.C. and the Yukon in response to the Fukushima disaster, saying radiation levels continue to be within background levels and there’s no cause for concern.

An SFU professor who has also gauged radiation levels in B.C. and found nothing of concern supports Ottawa’s decision to scale back.

“We haven’t seen any increased levels,” Kris Starosta said. “Monitoring is very expensive and time consuming.”

Claims have circulated on social media this summer that authorities hid the true extent of Canadians’ exposure to Japanese radiation.

One recent media report pointed to big “spikes” of Iodine-131 detected by a federal monitoring station at Sidney on Vancouver Island.

For seven days in March, that station did measure Iodine-131 at readings at least 100 times higher than normal, according to Health Canada data.

But Iodine-131 is just one radioisotope and a small component of the overall degree of radiation exposure B.C. residents get from various background sources.

“The resulting dose from any radionuclides detected following the Fukushima event represents only a tiny fraction of the total background radiation dose that Canadians normally receive and does not pose a health risk,” Health Canada assistant deputy minister Hilary Geller said in a statement.

A broader measurement of radiation exposure also posted on Health Canada’s website show the daily doses measured in March and April at B.C. sites remained roughly in line with the average readings from 2010.

The Burnaby station measured total daily exposures between 0.47 and 0.54 microsieverts in the post-Fukushima weeks, compared to its average 2010 reading of 0.49.

People get much more radiation from a dental X-ray (10 microsieverts), a cross-country jet flight (30 microsieverts) or a CT scan (at least 5,000 microsieverts).

Just Posted

Fraser Valley Thunderbirds finish second in Acura Winter Classic tournament

Several Chilliwack skaters lead the way as the B.C. Minor Midget Hockey League squad rolls into 2019

Chilliwack Players Guild brings first ever radio play to stage

An Affair of Honour is based on a true story, written by the father of a Chilliwack man

Chilliwack school board plans for an integrated arts school for grades 8-12 at old UFV location

With $10 million from B.C. government, SD 33 has big plans for old UFV campus at 45635 Yale Road

Relationships, continuity top health-care concerns for Agassiz residents

Feedback during Fraser Health events showed access to health care needs to improve

More staff being hired at Fraser Valley seniors homes

Number of care hours for residents lags behind provincial targets

UK lawmakers reject Brexit deal in 432-202 vote

House of Commons votes against the deal struck between Britain’s government and the EU

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna home to Canada’s most expensive rentals: report

According to PadMapper, units in larger B.C. cities cost $1,300 to more than $3,000

Former MP Svend Robinson wants to return to politics

Robinson is expected to be acclaimed as the NDP candidate in the riding of Burnaby North-Seymour

Most Read