Business, Economics and Jobs

Fukushima fish still contaminated, new study says


This file photo taken on February 28, 2012 shows a journalist looking at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture.

New data shows that fish caught near the Fukushima power plant in Japan are still as contaminated as they were shortly after last year's nuclear disaster.

About 40 percent of fish from the waters close to the Dai-ichi nuclear plant are still unfit for human consumption under Japanese regulations, US marine chemist Ken Buesseler wrote in a study published in this week's Science journal.

More from GlobalPost: Mutant butterflies linked to radiation from Fukushima nuclear disaster

Radioactive levels remain high and show little sign of coming down.

In fact, researchers say fish caught in the area may be inedible for a decade to come, The Guardian reported.

"These fish could have to be banned for a long time," Beusseler told the newspaper. "The most surprising thing for me was that the levels [of radioactivity] in the fish were not going down. There should have been much lower numbers."

More from GlobalPost: California bluefin tuna show traces of Fukushima radiation

Contamination levels were particularly high among bottom-dwelling fish, as sinking radioactive materials tainted the seafood, Bloomberg reported.

BBC News reported there are likely two sources of lingering contamination.

Polluted groundwater from underneath Fukushima is still leaking into the ocean following last year's earthquake and tsunami that killed nearly 10,000 people.

There's also contamination already found in sediments just offshore, Buesseler says.