State testing of seafood samples, in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, reaffirms that the quality and health of Alaska seafood has not been impacted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
In a statement issued on Jan. 9, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed that testing for 2016 and dating back to 2014 revealed no detectable levels of Fukushima-related radionuclides.
Officials at DEC’s Environmental Health Laboratory in Anchorage used gamma-ray analysis equipment sent by FDA for this federal-state pilot program to examine samples of king, chum, sockeye and pink salmon, plus halibut, Pollock, sablefish, herring and Pacific Cod, said Marlena Brewer, spokeswoman for the lab.
Test results were then went to FDA’s Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center in Winchester, MA for interpretation and reporting.
Results of testing conducted on Alaska fish in 2016 showed no detection of Fukushima-related radionuclides Iodine-131, cesium-134 and Cescium-137, the report said.
Alaska was selected in 2016 as the first state test site for implementation of a field deployable gamma-ray analysis system to analyze fish for radionuclides. This was a collaborative effort to provide Alaska with the capability to evaluate surveillance samples in-state for Fukushima radiation. Validation of the portable system will allow rapid on-site evaluation of environmental samples for gamma radiation contamination anywhere in the U.S. and will enhance the country’s Food Emergency Response Network, DEC officials said.
In the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan DEC still gets inquiries from around the country from people who want to see the data that proves lack of radiation in Alaska seafood, Brewer said.
The state continues to collaborate with other government agencies and researchers monitoring the marine environment. While researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have recently detected ultra-low levels of Fukushima-related radiation in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, these findings do not indicate a threat to Alaska waters or the safety of consuming marine fish, DEC officials said.
The public is cautioned, however, to be aware that fish and shellfish are still subject to local toxins, such as those that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.
A full listing of the 2016 FDA radionuclide testing results for Alaska is online at