5 Apr 2011

Regional fisheries expert says Fukushima fallout no threat to local fish stock

6:21 pm on 5 April 2011

A regional fisheries expert says Pacific Island communities shouldn't be concerned about any radioactive contamination of fish stocks following Japan's nuclear disaster.

The Fukushima nuclear plant's been leaking radioactive material since last month's quake and tsunami and its operator plans to dump 11,500 tonnes of tainted water into the Pacific Ocean as a safety measure.

A programme manager at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community, John Hampton, says skipjack, yellow fin and big eye tuna are of most interest to the region and they're concentrated around the equator at most times of the year.

"They do also occur up in the North Pacific off Japan but the available evidence from tagging programmes indicates that these fish do not rapidly mix throughout the Pacific, certainly not quickly and not in large components."

Dr Hampton says the diluting effects of the ocean would also help minimise any threat to local fisheries.