Is Fukushima Getting Worse?
by Robert Hunziker / June 28th, 2015
There are some really interesting issues within this article from June 2015.
One of those is this:
“Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked”. (Deborah Dupre, “Radiating Americans: Fukushima rain, Clinton’s Secret Food Pact”, Examiner.com, August 14, 2011).
“Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!”
Is Fukushima Getting Worse?
by Robert Hunziker / June 28th, 2015
The Fukushima multiple nuclear disasters continue spewing out hot stuff like there’s no tomorrow. By all appearances, it is getting worse, out-of-control nuclear meltdowns.
On June 19th TEPCO reported the highest-ever readings of strontium-90 outside of the Fukushima plant ports. The readings were 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of strontium-90 at two locations near water intakes for Reactors 3 and 4. TEPCO has not been able to explain the spike up in readings. The prior highest readings were 700,000 Bq/m3.
Strontium-90 is a byproduct of nuclear reactors or during the explosion of nuclear weapons; e.g., it is considered the most dangerous component of radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon.1 It is a cancer-causing substance because it damages genetic material (DNA) in cells. Strontium-90 is not found in nature. It’s a byproduct of the nuclear world of today; e.g., strontium-90 was only recently discovered, as of August 2014, for the first time ever, by the Vermont Health Department in ground water at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Coincidentally, Vermont Yankee, as of December 29, 2014, is being shut down.
When a fission chain reaction of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 is active in a nuclear power station containment vessel, it produces a vast array of deadly radioactive isotopes. Strontium-90 is but one of those. So, somewhere in Fukushima Dai-ichih a lot of atoms are splitting like crazy (meanwhile Einstein e=mc2 turns over in his grave) and ergo, a lot of strontium-90 pops out and hangs around for decades upon decades. This is not a small problem.
Which may be why Einstein famously said, “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”
For example, a large amount of strontium-90 erupted into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion (1986), spread over the old Soviet Republics and parts of Europe. Thereby, strontium-90, along with other radioactive isotopes, kills and maims people, a lot of people, to this day, more on this later.
Farming in Fukushima
Because of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, farmers in the greater area have had a tough go of it. For example, on June 6, 2013 Japanese farmers met with TEPCO and government officials, including the official in charge of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Translated and Edited by World Network for Saving Children from Radiation).
The 13-minute video of the farmers’ meeting with officials shows farmers testifying about contaminated food that, “We won’t eat ourselves, but we sell it… I know there is radiation in what we grow. I feel guilty about growing and selling them to consumers.”
Well, sure enough, officials from New Taipei City’s Department of Health (Taipei, Taiwan), and other law-enforcement authorities, seized mislabeled products from Japan. It seems that “more than 283 Japanese food products imported from the radiation-stricken areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster were found to be relabeled as having come from other areas of Japan and sold to local customers.”2
Meanwhile, within a couple of months of the illicit underhanded devious mislabeling incident, Taiwan draws a line in the sand for Japanese foodstuff.3
Not only that but on the heels of Taiwan’s discovery of the mislabeling gimmick, and only three months later, this past week, Japanese authorities are asking China to remove the restrictions.4 Previously, China banned food imports from ten prefectures in Japan, including Miyagi, Nagano, and Fukushima.
Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked.5
Meantime, Chancellor Merkel (PhD, physics) ordered a shutdown of nuclear power plants throughout Germany. Hmm.
Fukushima and Our Radioactive Ocean
According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Video- March 2015:
When Fukushima exploded, radioactive gases and particles escaped into the atmosphere. Most fell nearby on land and in the ocean. A smaller amount remained in the air, and within days, circled the globe… in the ocean close to Fukushima, levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.
Nevertheless, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:
Scientists who have modeled the plume predict that radioactivity along the West Coast of North America will increase, but will remain at levels that are not a threat to humans or marine life.
To date, based upon actual testing of water and marine life in the Pacific Ocean by Woods Hole, radioactive levels along the North American West Coast remain low, not a threat to humans, not a threat to marine life, so far.
Fukushima and its Ocean Impact
According to Dr. Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, March 11, 2015, cesium uptake in the marine food web is diluted, for example, when Bluefin tuna swim across the Pacific, they lose, via excretion, about one-half of the cesium intake that is ingested in Japanese waters.
Expectantly, there are no commercial fisheries open in the Fukushima-affected areas of Japan. On a continual monitoring basis, no fishing is allowed in contaminated areas off the coastlines.
When contamination levels of fish in Japan are compared to fish along the coast of North America, the levels of radiation are relatively low in Canada and in the U.S. As a result, according to studies by Woods Hole, eating fish from the U.S. Pacific region is okay.
Not only that, but rather than categorical acceptance of U.S. government statements about safety from radiation in ocean currents, Dr. Buesseler established a citizen’s network called “How Radioactive is Our Ocean?” where individuals contribute by voluntarily taking samples. Every sample from the West Coast had cesium-137, but the numbers are low and at levels harmless to humans, thus far.
But, on a cautionary note, Dr. Buesseler is the first one to admit the situation requires constant monitoring.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s findings are not sufficient to dismiss health concerns for many reasons, among of which Fukushima is white hot with radioactivity, tenuously hanging by a thread, extremely vulnerable to another earthquake or even an internally generated disruption. Who knows? It is totally out of control!
The California Coastal Commission issued a report that agrees with the low levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides detected in air, drinking water, food, seawater, and marine life in California; however, “it should be noted that the long-term effects of low-level radiation in the environment remain incompletely understood….”6
The risk of long-term exposure to low-level radiation is unclear. Studies of radiotherapy patients and others indicate that there is a significant increase in cancer risk if lifetime exposure exceeds 100,000 microsieverts, according to the World Health Organization. A person exposed daily to radiation at the high end of the levels now seen at Miyakoji [a village in Fukushima Prefecture] would reach that lifetime exposure level in fewer than 23 years.7
Current Status of Fukushima Nuclear Site
According to Dr. Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who travels to Japan to measure radiation levels: The site continues to leak radioactive materials. In fact, release of strontium-90 has grown by a factor of 100 when compared to 2011 levels. In other words, the situation is worsening. One hundred times anything is very big, especially when it is radiation.
Strontium-90 is acutely dangerous, and as it happens, highly radioactive water continuing to spew out of the Fukushima Dai-ichih facilities is seemingly an endless, relentless problem. The mere fact that strontium-90 has increased by a factor of 100 since the disaster occurred is cause for decisive sober reflection. Furthermore, nobody on the face of the planet knows what is happening within the nuclear containment vessels, but apparently, it’s not good. More likely, it’s real bad.
According to Dr. Helen Caldicott:
There is no way they can get to those cores, men die, robots get fried. Fukushima will never be solved. Meanwhile, people are still living in highly radioactive areas.8
Comparison analysis of Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011)
The world’s three most recent nuclear disasters are dissimilar in many respects. However, all three are subject to the same adage: “an accident is something that is not planned.” Thus, by definition, in the final analysis, the risk factor with nuclear power is indeterminate. Fukushima is proof.
Three Mile Island’s containment vessel, in large measure, fulfilled its purpose by containing most of the radiation so there was minimal radiation released. As such, Three Mile Island is the least harmful of the three incidents.
By way of contrast, Chernobyl did not have an adequate containment vessel and as a result, the explosion sent a gigantic plume of radioactive material blasting into the atmosphere, contaminating a 70 square kilometer (approximately 30 sq. mi.) region, a “dead zone” that is permanently uninhabitable, forever unlivable.
To this day, tens of thousands of people affected by Chernobyl continue to suffer, and die, begging the question of whether Fukushima could be worse. After all, the incubation period for radiation in the body is 5-to-40 years (Caldicott). As, for example, it took 5 years for Chernobyl children to develop cancer (Caldicott), and Fukushima occurred in 2011.
“Fukushima is not Chernobyl, but it is potentially worse. It is a multiple reactor catastrophe happening within 150 miles of a metropolis of 30 million people,” claims John Vidal. Whereas, Chernobyl was only one reactor in an area of 7 million people.
John Vidal, environmental editor, The Guardian newspaper (UK), traveled to Chernobyl:
Five years ago I visited the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border where much of the radioactive plume from Chernobyl descended on 26 April 1986. I challenge chief scientist John Beddington and environmentalists like George Monbiot or any of the pundits now downplaying the risks of radiation to talk to the doctors, the scientists, the mothers, children and villagers who have been left with the consequences of a major nuclear accident. It was grim. We went from hospital to hospital and from one contaminated village to another. We found deformed and genetically mutated babies in the wards; pitifully sick children in the homes; adolescents with stunted growth and dwarf torsos; fetuses without thighs or fingers and villagers who told us every member of their family was sick. This was 20 years after the accident, but we heard of many unusual clusters of people with rare bone cancers… Villagers testified that ‘the Chernobyl necklace’ – thyroid cancer – was so common as to be unremarkable.9
Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the ‘liquidators’ who had helped clean up the plant [Chernobyl], told us that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another, but that no one had ever asked him for evidence. There was burning resentment at the way the UN, the industry and ill-informed pundits had played down the catastrophe.10
And still more yet:
Alexy Yablokov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: ‘When you hear no immediate danger [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can’… At the end of 2006, Yablokov and two colleagues, factoring in the worldwide drop in births and increase in cancers seen after the accident, estimated in a study published in the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that 985,000 people had so far died and the environment had been devastated. Their findings were met with almost complete silence by the World Health Organisation and the industry.11
The environment is devastated and almost one million dead. Is nuclear power worth the risks? Chancellor Merkel doesn’t seem to think so.
Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!
The primary containment vessels at Fukushima may have prevented a Chernobyl-type massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere in one enormous explosion. Even though, Fukushima did have four hydrogen explosions in the secondary containment structures, and as previously mentioned, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:
When Fukushima exploded… levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.
But, more significant, troublesome, and menacing the primary containment vessels themselves are an afflictive problem of unknown dimension, unknown timing, unknown levels of destruction, as the nuclear meltdown left 100 tons of white-hot radioactive lava somewhere, but where?
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” William Shakespeare The Tempest.
Postscript: Quietly into Disaster is an alluring, exquisite, handsome full-length film that examines the consequences of nuclear fission, Produced by: Holger Strohm, Directed by Marcin El.
HyperPhysics, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [↩]
Stephanie Chao, 283 Mislabeled Japanese Food Products Originated Near Fukushima, The China Post, March 25, 2015. [↩]
“Taiwan Enforces Stricter Controls on Japanese Food Imports”, J.R. Wu in Taipei and Ami Miyazaki in Tokyo, Reuters, May 15, 2015 [↩]
“Japan Asks China to Ease Food Import Restrictions Introduced After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster”, South China Morning Post, June 25, 2015. [↩]
Deborah Dupre, “Radiating Americans: Fukushima rain, Clinton’s Secret Food Pact”, Examiner.com, August 14, 2011 [↩]
Report on the Fukushima Dai-ichih Nuclear Disaster and Radioactivity along the California Coast, California Coastal Commission, April 30, 2014. [↩]
Patrick J. Kiger, “Fukushima Return: At Nuclear Site, How Safe is Safe?” National Geographic, April 2, 2014. [↩]
Helen Caldicott, Speech at Seattle Town Hall, September 28, 2014. [↩]
John Vidal, “Nuclear’s Green Cheerleaders Forget Chernobyl at Our Peril”, The Guardian, April 1, 2011. [↩]
Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: email@example.com. Read other articles by Robert.
This article was posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at 11:11pm and is filed under China, Environment, Germany, Japan, Nuclear Energy, Oceans/Seas.
TV: “Carcasses littering beaches for miles” on Pacific coast of Alaska — “Complete reproductive failure” — “Horrifying… Horrid… Mind-boggling… Off the charts” — Unprecedented die-off “has potential to be biggest mortality event in state history” — “The most extreme I’ve ever seen” (VIDEOS)
Published: January 13th, 2016 at 3:00 pm ET
(In this Jan. 5, 2016 photo, Guy Runco, director of the Bird Treatment and Learning Center, releases…)
AP, Jan 12, 2016 (emphasis added): “It was pretty horrifying,” [Seabird biologist David Irons] said… An estimated 8,000 of the black and white birds were found dead on the Whittier beach, said [USGS’s] John Piatt… “That’s unprecedented, that sheer number in one location is off the charts,” he said… “The length of time we’ve been seeing dead birds, and the geographic scope, is much greater than before in other die-off events,” said Kathy Kuletz, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’re looking at many times that. So possibly a good chunk of the population.”… Many females in 2015, however, were too weak to breed, Kuletz said.
KTVA, Jan 6, 2016: “It’s a major event and it’s difficult to see,” said Kathy Kuletz, the seabird coordinator for Fish and Wildlife. On Wednesday afternoon, Justin Siemens [said] “It’s super crazy. I’ve always seen a little bit of die off… but nothing like this,” [Kuletz] said this has the potential to be the biggest mortality event in the state’s history — numbers could reach more than 100,000.
(Photo by Anna Frost, Homer News/Homer News reporters counted 126 dead murres washed up on the trail by Mud Bay on Dec. 31. Biologists don’t know what is causing the murres to die in such huge numbers).
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Jan 7, 2016: Anyone who has walked Homer’s beaches the past few weeks has seen a horrid event. Every few yards… dead birds… In the summer of 2015, the murres also suffered a complete colony collapse and failed to breed… “We had complete reproductive failure, which is really rare for murres,” said Heather Renner, a bird biologist… 8,000 dead murres on a 1-mile stretch of beach in Whittier. “That number is totally off the charts,” Renner said. “This whole region is having through-the-roof numbers in the last couple of days.”… In an interview in July, [Julia Parrish, a fisheries professor at the University of Washington] said a big die off would be like one seen at Kayak Island near Prince William Sound, with 1,000 dead birds per kilometer. “That’s knee deep in birds,” she said then… other species like auklets and guillemots have been found dead… Murres also have been dying in above-average numbers in areas of the Washington and Oregon coast… “These are scrappy birds. They’re used to it. Something else is going on… They’re telling us something is going on in the marine ecosystem,” she said.
(Dead murres line a beach in Prince William Sound the first week of January, 2016.
David Irons / USFW)
Alaska Dispatch News, Jan 5, 2016: Thousands of dead common murres are washing up on the beaches of Whittier, an unprecedented die-off that has scientists wondering how many more thousands remain uncounted… The scale of the die-off is unprecedented along the Sound, longtime residents say. “It’s just mind-boggling,” said David Janka, a Cordova charter owner… [It’s] the worst Piatt has seen in 40 years of research in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. “It’s a regular part of their life history, but I would say this is the most extreme I have ever seen or heard of,” he said… It’s possible that… there’s a disease or some other medical condition that’s causing them to starve… “It’s turning out to be something that does have the potential for population-level effects,” she said. “It is just off the chart as far as what we typically see with these events.”
KTVA, Jan 7, 2016: Carcasses littered beaches for miles outside Whittier… “Scientists tend to get blasé about this but this is bigger than I’ve ever seen,” [Irons] said. They know the birds are starving to death, they just don’t know why. “Seabird biologists say seabirds are indicators of the health of the ecosystem. Now they’re dying and that is telling us something.”
Alaska Dispatch News, Dec 30, 2015: Normally found skimming the North Pacific, seabirds known as common murres are appearing inland… starving and unable to fly… [Biologists] say the seabirds may already be pushing away from the ocean in a desperate quest to find food… [It’s] part of a widespread seabird die-off up and down the Pacific coast, possibly due to shortages of squid, krill and little fish the birds usually eat.
KTOO, Dec 26, 2015: Seabird die-offs have been recorded all along the West Coast of the U.S. in Washington, Oregon and California this year… “Based on the duration of the time that we’ve had carcasses being reported to us, I would say, it’s into the thousands, certainly, throughout Kachemak Bay,” [??] Slater said… They’ve also had reports of dead tufted puffins, horned puffins and an ancient murrelet…
Seward City News, Dec 30, 2015: It’s hard to miss the bloody bird carcasses strewn about town… None of this is normal… Alarming numbers of seabird die-offs are also occurring this year from California up the coast to the Gulf of Alaska.
Homer Tribune, Jan 2016: Dead murres litter Homer’s Mud Bay beach… and [continue to] baffle scientists…. This most recent wave of murre strandings is part… of a widespread seabird die-off up and down the Pacific coast.
Seward City News, Nov 16, 2015: It’s hard to miss the many seabird carcasses scattered along the beach, and in town… [Many] paddle lethargically as if in a daze… Murres are also acting strange in other ways, paddling towards people and other birds, not recognizing danger.
Watch broadcasts here: KTVA:
Published: October 11th, 2015 at 11:37 pm ET
Dr. Timothy Mousseau, Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina,
published Oct 3, 2015:
18:30 in — “We don’t see these kind of patches of white feathers anywhere else around the world… Whats really interesting is that 2 years ago we started finding birds in Fukushima with patches of white feathers as well… The frequencies are increasing, its related to the radiation exposure… White spots, they first started noticing these white spots on these cows shortly after the disaster.”
30:30 in — “Fukushima… After 4 years of repeated sampling this is what we find: huge impacts, dramatically fewer birds in the areas of high radiation, many dramatically fewer species of birds as well.”
32:00 in — “Since it was July, I think I’ll… have to go with ‘Silent Summer’ effect… It’s really a dead zone. There are no butterflies, no birds. Very few, and it’s very, very clearly the result of the radiation contaminants.”
34:30 in — (Showing images of the radioactive contamination crossing the Pacific Ocean) “Why does it matter to you?… The reason is… it’s coming — it is coming.”
Reuters: Contamination is spreading off U.S. shores — Radioactive cesium reaches 11 Bq/m3 at multiple locations (MAP) “Very significant” explosion at dam next to U.S. nuclear site — ‘Plasma’ created due to tremendous amount of heat — Same type of phenomenon as lightning — Nuclear site’s fire department responds to blast (VIDEO) http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/explosion-washington-state-dam-injures-multiple-employees-n441456 »
Former Japan Official: “Unstoppable contamination of Pacific Ocean… is seriously menacing US West Coast” — “Fukushima now undeniably a global security issue… can’t be brought under control by single state” — Experts: Wave of radiation will be 10 times more than entire world’s nuclear tests combined
Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
Mitsuhei Murata, former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, Nov 1, 2015 (emphasis added):
The lack of the sense of crisis over Fukushima is in stark contrast to the gravity of the crisis. Fukushima is now undeniably a global security issue. The unstoppable contamination of the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere with ionizing radiation from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors is seriously menacing the West Coast of the United States. Japan should make utmost efforts to cope with the Fukushima crisis by retreating from the Tokyo Olympic Games that disseminate the false impression that Fukushima is under control.
Deteriorating situation in Fukushima — Japan is laboring under the consequences of the Accident never before experienced by humanity, including the simultaneous destruction and meltdown of three commercial nuclear reactors. Four and half years after the 3.11 disaster, it has been shown that a severe nuclear accident cannot be brought under control by a single state… It is questioned if Japan is in possession of the governability and the capacity needed to cope with the impending crisis. The melted cores of the reactors from Units 1, 2 and 3 remain inaccessible… If the molten nuclear fuel rods are exposed through cracks to the atmosphere due to a mega earthquake or the liquidization of soils on the site that could cause the collapse and breach of Fukushima’s spent fuel pools, Japan’s landmass would become uninhabitable to a large extent… The whole of Japan is threatened by the worsening situation emanating from the molten fuel rods, which continue to widely disseminate large amounts of dangerous radionuclides into the sea and atmosphere. Limitless steam observed evokes the possibility of re-criticality at the site. The undeniable necessity for international verification of the suspected re-criticality at the site should bring about the indispensable international cooperation to cope effectively with the Accident. The ongoing radioactive contamination of the sea with no prospect for a solution is dishonoring Japan, causing it to be criticized for harming the global environment. In spite of all this, attempts are shamefully being made to hide Fukushima…
World is menaced by the spreading contamination… The consequences of the radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the West Coast of the United States are drawing increased attention. Some experts now estimate that the wave of radiation from Fukushima will be 10-times bigger than all of the radiation from the entire world’s nuclear tests throughout history combined…
The Tokyo Olympic Games belittle the Fukushima crisis — It is undeniable that the Tokyo Olympic Games constitute serious impediments for coping with the consequences of the March 11 Disaster… My interview article was published in the magazine “Monthly Japan” (September 2015). It is entitled “An honorable retreat from the Tokyo Olympic Games” and is given a central place. Reactions are noteworthy and expanding… The Tokyo Olympic Games diverts attention from Fukushima and gives the false impression to the world that Fukushima no longer poses a threat. The advancement of the Tokyo Olympic Games comes at the expense of the funds needed to address the host of environmental disasters created by the destroyed Fukushima nuclear reactors… The future of the Olympic Games is at stake. It is as a believer in the spirit of the Olympic Games and the Olympic Movement that I am pleading for an honorable retreat, and this, in order for Japan to devote maximum efforts to controlling the Fukushima crisis.
From last month: Former Japan Ambassador: Uncontrolled nuclear chain reactions could be underway at Fukushima — “Troubling indications of recurring criticality” as Tellurium-132 detected over 100 miles from plant — ‘Recriticality’ discussed by Japan’s top nuclear official
Published: December 2nd, 2015 at 7:05 am ET
Killer whales dying along Pacific coast — “Very sick, emaciated” — Population at lowest level in decades — Steep decline began after 2011 — No babies born in past 2 years — Alarming changes in behavior observed; Social structure is ‘splintering’ (PHOTO)
Published: September 5th, 2014 at 9:38 am ET
Kitsap Sun, Sept 2, 2014: … deaths reduce orca population to lowest level in 30 years — The endangered killer whale population in Puget Sound continues to decline… [it’s] dropped to 78… according to Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research. No new calves have been born to the three pods since 2012, he said. And, alarmingly, the social structure among the orcas appears to be “splintering.”… He compiles an annual census of the population for submission to the federal government… [T]he past few years, the pods have divided themselves into small groups, sometimes staying together but often staying apart… Balcomb suggests that the primary factor for the population decline is a lack of food for the killer whales… The two orcas that are missing and presumed dead are L-53, a 37-year-old female named Lulu; and L-100, a 13-year-old male named Indigo… population has gone… from 88 in 2011 to 78 today.
Killer Whales of BC, Aug 26, 2014: After the confirmation [of the deaths] of L53 Lulu and L100Indigo are more bad news… Orca live confirmed that Plumper [age 37] has not been sighted since 8/21/14 and now is considered missing. Also Pointer [age 39] did not return with his family and is also missing. Both boys were spotted with a Peanuthead…Rest in Peace
!!! You will be missed!!! New information which unfortunately are coming directly from Port McNeil not better. Also the young I63 [age 24] is missing. She did not return with her family. R.I.P. young lady.
Campbell River Whale & Bear Excursions, Aug 22, 2014: A37 Plumper… this is a tough image for me to look at and share. It shows a very sick, emaciated, slow moving and shallow breathing brother of one of the most iconic families of Northern Resident Killer Whales… Sad to think maybe this will be my last image of him. Tonight Orcalive posted that as Plumper and his Brother Kaikash pushed through the tide in Blackney Pass Plumper was lagging way behind and not able to fight the current… both were pushed back and Plumper looked so exhausted he almost wasn’t even surfacing… poor guy… He drifted slowly beside us very close to the surface, and I could look down on top of him… so skinny…
Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research: “What we’re seeing with this weird association pattern… a fragmentation of the formal social structure, and you can see that fragmentation going further. They are often staying miles and miles apart and not interacting.”
See also: Researchers predict west coast killer whales will exceed 1,000 Bq/kg of radioactive cesium — Over 10 times gov’t limit in Japan — Concern about harm to humans, sea life — Expert: People eating large amounts of fish may have levels similar to whales
Published: September 5th, 2014 at 9:38 am ET
Here goes… Be Safe and Don’t Eat The Seafood!
TV: “Surge in marine mammal strandings” on US West Coast — Scientists: “This is very weird”; “My biggest fear is if this… is everywhere” along coast — Whales, dolphins, sea lions, birds recently washing up in large numbers — Many thousands likely dead — Violent seizures shown on news (VIDEO)
Published: August 30th, 2014 at 9:43 pm ET
America Tonight, Aug. 26, 2014 (emphasis added): A sea lion has washed up… suffering repeated violent seizures, it’s in agony… “We’ve rescued about 860 animals within our rescue range. We’re seeing increased numbers in all the species we’ve cared for this year.” It’s not just sea lions — otters are also dying… large numbers of whales and dolphins are strandingon Southern California beaches, brown pelicans… dropped dead from the sky… “She had been seizing for about 30-40 minutes. Nothing seemed to be helping, so she eventually died while we were doing other stuff in here.”… “The sea lions are the sentinels of the sea. They are eating the fish that the humans are eating… There could be a time… that all the fish are contaminated by this toxin.”
Al Jazeera, Aug 26, 2014: [A] deadly neurotoxin produced by algae [is] taking the lives of many marine mammals… While the algae… are a commonoccurrence… its production of domoic acid is not… sea lions, brown pelicans, otters, whales and dolphins… have been stranding in large numbers recently… violent seizures, vomiting, permanent neurological damage and even heart failure within two days… The Marine Mammal Center [is] the largest marine mammal hospital in the world… Butthis year has been different… The Center has broken its animal admissions record… [In July, officials found domoic acid] levels had dropped… However the renewed surge in marine mammal strandings has left scientists puzzled… [As] scientists try to crack the mystery… marine mammals continue to suffer.
Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at The Marine Mammal Center: “A lot of animals are being exposed to such high levels of domoic acid, that they’re dying on us.They’re not responding to treatment like they often have in the past“… [The death toll] doesn’t include all of the sea lions that die before washing ashore… Nor does it account for all of the sea lion pups that will likely die without a parent. Many of the afflicted sea lions are lactating females still weaning their pups… “If there are a few hundred or even a thousand… there’s a few thousand pups that we’re probably losing… If this is happening over and over again, year after year, there is a fear that domoic acid may have a negative impact on the overall sea lion population… my biggest fear is if this happens all the time or if it’s everywhere on the West Coast… if that happens, it’s going to affect all the fish and it’s going to close down fisheries and it’ll have a huge negative impact on everyone.”
Jason Smith, Moss Landing Marine Lab: Domoic acid… has been present in all but one weekly sample since early spring…. This is also very weird… not sure exactly why it’s happening.
Clarissa Anderson, marine scientists: “A lot of the animals that are stranding right now don’t tend to feed very far off shore… So the mystery is, where is the domoic acid that they’re acquiring? We’re not measuring it in the mussels and shellfish near shore.”
Published: August 30th, 2014 at 9:43 pm ET
- TV: Huge increase in dead and sick sea mammals on California coast — Unprecedented numbers, annual record broken in 7 months — Starving, drooling, brain damaged, suffering seizures — Sea lions ‘mysteriously’ vanishing on other side of Pacific — Experts: We don’t know what’s happening (VIDEO) August 3, 2014
- TV: Crisis of epic proportions for California sea lions — Suffering abscesses, seizures — Exponentially higher numbers washing up (VIDEO) April 2, 2013
- ‘Marine Mystery’ in California: “Toxic outbreak threatening marine life” — Birds falling from sky, sea lions convulsing — “Worst they’ve ever seen” — Toxin hits record level, almost 1,000% above gov’t limit — Heart lesions, severe shrinking in part of brain, nervous system failure (VIDEO) May 3, 2014
- CNN airs troubling images of ill California sea lions — “Like walking skeletons” — Unprecedented crisis, exponentially higher numbers — 700 rescued recently (VIDEO)March 23, 2013
- Alarm as record numbers of seals & sea lions ‘starving to death’ along California coast — “It’s just spiked… calls started coming nonstop” — “So many unhealthy… washing ashore” — “Extremely complex issue… multitude of factors in play” — “Definitely a mystery, we’re hoping it’s not the new norm” May 4, 2014