Friday, January 8, 2016

California Sea Lions, the Blob, and Fukushima Daiichi

Enenews has a headline on the ongoing mass mortality event for California sea lions (three years now of mass reproductive failures).:
Sickened animals “unlike anything doctors have ever seen” on West Coast — “They’re eating themselves from the inside” — Cancers… liver, pancreas, intestines shut down… infested with parasites and immune to antibiotics — Unprecedented catastrophe to cause loss of 200,000 sea lions (VIDEO):

One article, in particular, was interesting because it included an interview with the Director of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which has rescued many sea lions (and should be applauded for their efforts). The director reported that many of the rescued sea lions are unusually infested with parasites. He also noted that the sea lions are exhibiting resistance to antibiotics, which the director is attributing to their exposure to human antibiotics in the ocean:

Rita Robinson Sea Lion Pups In Trouble Again The Indy (Laguna Beach) December 18, 2015, accessed January 8, 2016,

With the lowest body weights ever documented, California sea lion pups are not only starving from lack of food, they’re infested with parasites and immune to antibiotics, said the director of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center….  To treat the hookworm, rehab facilities are using anti-worming drugs, such as ones for human and canine tapeworms. 

Antibiotics for infections are proving ineffective. •Coming from the wild, the sea-faring animals are already immune to manmade antibiotics, he said. “They’ve never been given antibiotics and they’re already resistant,” he said, “so they’re picking them up in the water column somehow. All the antibiotics that humans take and excrete and the ones they flush down the toilet that they don’t take are ending up in the ocean.” Sea lions from the Atlantic on the East Coast, where Matassa worked prior to PMMC, were resistant to an even greater number of drugs, he said….

The articles cited by Enenews are informative, but both attribute the die-offs exclusively to the warm water blob hanging around offshore.

I LOVE the sea lions and my heart breaks. But I am not surprised and I don't think the blob should be decontextualized from the altered North Pacific Ocean environment produced by three explosions and at least one spent fuel pool fire whose fallout primarily rained out over the ocean, according to published research. Adding to that unprecedented assault against the ocean, is a never-ending plume of radioactive water emanating from Fukushima Daiichi (which catastrophically caps a legacy of ocean dumping of atomic waste).

Within a month of the disaster in March 2011, Fukushima fallout of iodine-131 was detected in California kelp by scientists from Cal State Northridge AND iodine-131, cesium-134, and cesium-137 were found in samples taken from US west coast states by the US Geological Survey.

Fallout came down in the rain. It still may, given the acknowledged ongoing atmospheric emissions by TEPCO.

But the real killer is the catastrophic ongoing ocean contamination. I've documented in my published work the scale and ongoing nature of contamination of the Pacific Ocean. TEPCO doesn't deny it. TEPOC is trying to filter water they dump into the ocean deliberately, but has acknowledged incapacity to stop contamination occurring as melted fuel in cracked reactors encounters the river of water rushing under the Daiichi site.

A continuous plume of radioactive water was initiated in March 2011. It hasn't ceased. TEPCO has no clear plan for solving this problem because the technology for removing the melted fuel does not yet exist.

The continuous plume of radioactive water disperses in various ways but can be, and has been, carried by strong ocean currents to North America. Researchers identified arrival of the plume in 2013 around San Diego, CA.

The cesium levels in ocean water measured by Ken Buesseler are low but they are rising and will continue to rise until the radioactive water problem is solved.

Many radionuclides are chemically toxic, as well as emitting various forms of radiation capable of rupturing DNA.

Add a poison to an environment and then keep adding more. What happens. Well, like many poisons, radionuclides are folded into our bodies from environmental inputs, such as food, water, and the air we breathe.

It seems to me that the character of the blob itself could have been inflected by radionuclides from Fukushima because it turns out that some algae, especially red tide algae, are better adapted to surviving in radiation-contaminated waters.

The biological effects of chemical toxicity and radioactive decay include accelerated aging, increased fragility, and reduced immunity. Read the research on the effects of space radiation on astronauts.

But for me the scariest effects are not visited on the first generation, but upon subsequent ones.  US geneticists warned of potentially catastrophic long-term reproductive failure from accumulated mutations caused by fallout during the 1950s (the BEAR Report).

Research by Timouthy Moussea and Anders Moller has documented transgenerational effects in birds in Chernobyl, among other animals studied. Genetic damage may be merely the tip of the iceberg of epigenetic and cellular effects wrought by genotoxins.

With these thoughts in mind, I ask myself, how could the sea life NOT be impacted by the initial fallout over the ocean and the never ending radioactive plume emanating from the Daiichi plant?


  1. The water and airborne radiation and poisons from industrialisation such as mercury are sloshing round the world.
    A long scale study of the Baltic sea pollution found that 90% biomass of the Baltic was blue mussels, and they were filterfeeding the Baltic clean bit by bit, year by years. The canals of Europe through the heavy industrial zones were being cleaned by by zebra mussels by the tonne on the canal walls. Zebra mussels are a pest in US nuclear power plants. Chernobyl cooling pond, nearby rivers with heavy contamination also had the indominable zebra mussels stacking away the heavy metals to 50% increase by weight by cation exchange into their shells. Nature cleans up. We just need to accelerate the process at a faster rate than our species shelf life...
    No 6th generation of rats in Belarus with 5 M siverts constant exposure, due to mutations. There is the possibility of no viable human 4th generation of highly contamination areas.
    Bioremediation of land and sea is necessary and possible.
    Cheers Helen


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