Alaska Seafood Still Safe From Radiation

Testing of wild Alaska salmon, halibut, Pollock, sablefish, herring and Pacific cod has confirmed once again no presence of Fukushima-related radiation, Alaska officials confirmed Jan. 9.

Testing in previous years, in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, showed no detectable levels of Fukushima-related radionuclides in the seafood, and testing in 2016 also confirmed the quality and health of Alaska seafood has not been impacted by the Fukushima disaster, said officials with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

DEC still receives inquiries regarding the safety of Alaska seafood, said DEC spokeswoman Marlena Brewer. “We get a lot of callers who want to see the data that proves lack of radiation in seafood.”

To assume the safety of Alaska’s abundant seafood harvest, DEC environmental health officers collect samples of fish during regular inspections of commercial fishing processors statewide. Results of that testing in 2016 showed no detection of Fukushima-related radionuclides Iodine-131, Cesium-134 and Cesium-137.

Alaska was selected this past year as the first state test site for implementation of a field deployable gamma-ray analysis system to analyze fish for radionuclides. The unique pilot project was organized by the US Food and Drug Administration, and the system was installed at DEC’s Environmental health Laboratory in Anchorage.

Fish samples were analyzed in-house in Anchorage and digital data was transmitted to the FDA’s Winchester Engineering and Analytical Center in Winchester, MA for interpretation and reporting.

That collaborative effort provided Alaska with the capability to evaluate surveillance samples in-state for Fukushima radiation. Validation of this portable system will allow rapid on-site evaluation of environmental samples for gamma radiation contamination anywhere in the U.S. and will enhance the nation’s Food Emergency Response Network, DEC officials said.

DEC is continuing to collaborate with other government agencies and researchers to monitor the marine environment. Agency officials said that while researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute recently detected ultra-low levels of Fukushima-related radiation in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, that those findings did not indicate a threat to Alaska waters or the safety of consuming marine fish.

A full listing of the 2016 FDA radionuclide testing results for Alaska is online at

More Alaska –specific information about Fukushima-related radiation exposure is at