15 Jun '11, 12pm
Radiation Detected In Minke Whales Off Japan.
Japan's spring coastal whaling off Kushiro has ended, and radioactive caesium has been detected in some of the whales taken. Officials from Japan have announced that this is likely a result of the nuclear accident off Fukushima, and that the situation will need to be watched. According to the survey team, 6 minke whales were tested for radioactivity out of the 17 caught in the coastal spring hunt. In two whales trace levels of radioactive caesium were found: 31 becquerels/kg in one and 24.3 becquerels/kg in another. The spring hunt usually takes place off Ayukawa, and the fall hunt from Kushiro, but the whalers in East Ayukawa district were affected by the earthquake, and the hunt was changed to Kushiro. Mark Simmonds, WDCS International Director of Science, said, "Sadly this shows that radioactive caesium is within the whole marine food chain and even reaching the whales....