The radioactive contamination of fish

25 Mar 2011

The French and European authorities don’t appear to have grasped all the difficulties raised by the control of fish and other seafood products likely to have been contaminated by atmospheric deposits and liquid radioactive matter in the coastal and deep sea regions of the North West Pacific. This is the most productive area in the world. It is exploited by fleets from Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Russia. IUU fishing – illegal, non-declared and non-regulated – is very active here.

Global catches are approximately 20 million tonnes per year. Catches of Japanese anchovy and mackerel reach 1.5 million tonnes and 900 thousand tonnes per year respectively. Squid, cuttlefish and octopus catches are in the order of 1 million tonnes per year, and Japanese calamari and scallops are in the order of 1 million tonnes and 200 thousand tonnes per year respectively.

From a health point of view, it is important to establish reinforced vigilance in Europe in respect of fishing resources that originate from all fishing nations in the North West Pacific region or countries from this area involved in product transformation. As far as France is concerned, this vigilance should be particularly focused on the international markets at Rungis and Boulogne-sur-Mer, on fish and sushi importers and distributors. It must be maintained for several years given the capacity of producing countries to freeze seafood products.

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