– US Gov’t Expert: Fukushima is always on people’s minds… a lot of concern and worry about radiation’s role in unusual marine deaths — Reports of shrunken or enlarged organs, black kidneys, sores on liver, slime in mouth, discolored skin — Mortality in intertidal zone like “we haven’t seen before” (VIDEO) (ENENews, Aug 11, 2015):
Gay Sheffield, NOAA Sea Grant (US Dept. of Commerce) marine advisory agent, July 2014 at 31:00 in (emphasis added): “I’m here in Bering Strait and I know there’s people [on this call] from all over the state, so they may not be familiar with some of our events. Right after Fukushima blew, we had, and still sort of have… an unusual mortality event with four species of seals in this region, all the way from Bristol Bay, up to Barrow (the Russian side), and all the way into Canada… A lot of people were curious, because we have never been able to find an infectious disease. A lot of people were concerned and worried that this Fukushima radiation had some effect… Fukushima is a big concern in this region… Fukushima is always on people’s minds… Here’s the cover of the Nome Nugget, that’s our newspaper here, and the top story was the lack of radiation monitoring was really annoying people — that we had nothing, nothing was being done. It was a concern all the time on people’s minds — with the seals, with the birds, and what not… it was making the front news of the paper. I hope that lets others know that the concern people have in Western Alaska… it’s a big thing.”
A long list of unusual events soon after Fukushima may explain why it’s “always on people’s minds” in Alaska:
- Nanwalek, AK… Change in barnacle numbers raises harvest questions… Above normal amounts of barnacles [have] fallen from the coastal rocks. They are concerned about the amount of change in the shellfish… We have not seen this before and… are worried about the safety of chitons and shellfish to eat.
- Shishmaref, AK… Discolored seal with sores on side flipper… Hopefully this seal will bring us closer to understanding what may be causing the illness and disease that our marine mammals are being affected by… [Another seal] came from Russia, colored orange.
- Shishmaref, AK… Unusual bearded seal… slime within the mouth… upon butchering there was hardly any fat… the liver was described as small… approximately 1/2 the size of a normal liver… kidney was approximately twice as big as the other… the bigger kidney had the appearance of darker color, and also most black… [sores] on the liver and kidney.
- Old Harbor, AK… Three dead whales…This is an unusual sighting for us.
- McDonald Spit, AK… Intertidal zone barnacle mortality… The fauna on the intertidal rocks seems to decreased… A lot of the large barnacle shells are empty… [We] are concerned and curious what caused this change.
- St. George, AK… Two marine mammal carcasses were found… I’m getting out information so if other dead mammals are spotted… we could get a better understanding
- Nome, AK… Beached decaying grey whale washed up
- Elim, AK… Several sightings of dead baby belugas… over the past few days. There is at least two more baby belugas washed up on the beach… we don’t see stranded ones very often… We are concerned… and wonder why they occur.
- Moses Point, AK … dead beluga whale.
- Old Harbor, AK… Dead humpback whale… Our concern has to do with the impact it might have to our subsistence lifestyle. It is unusual to find so many dead whales.
- Saint George, AK… Red colored water observed in harbor… The community members who brought this to my attention said they haven’t seen anything like this.