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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

MEXICO: Season Totals (Through April 08, 2012) Packout by State ...









Total General por Estados


NAYARIT 
 190,080 


JALISCO - 


ZONA LIBRE (NORTE SINALOA) -


SINALOA
 8,153


MICHOACAN
 3,274,426


GUERRERO 
 29,665


NUEVO LEON -


CHIAPAS 
 3,818,947 


CAMPECHE 
 21,840 


OAXACA 
 3,905,985 


Total Temporada 2012 

 11,249,096



Mexico shipped over 2 million (4kg) cartons to USA market Last week (14) ...






Daily Packout for week 14, 2012 and Season accumalated total


April 01, 2012:
283,601................................... 9,338,425


April 02, 2012:
282,398.................................... 9,620,823


April 03, 2012:
323,939.................................... 9,944,762


April 04, 2012:
323,335................................... 10,268,097


April 05, 2012:
366,780................................... 10,634,877


April 06, 2012:
212,302.................................... 10,847,179


April 07, 2012;
259,562...................................... 11,106,741


WEEK 14 (2012);
2,051,917.................................... 11,106,741

 

Top USA Importers: 2012 Mexican mango season (Through April 8, 2012) ...








Acumulado General Temporada 2012



Distribuidor                            Total Cajas      Total %
GM PRODUCE SALES LLC 1,385,298 12.31%
CIRULI BROTHERS 1,303,040 11.58%
FRESKA PRODUCE INTERNATIONAL LLC. 1,112,069 9.89%
CABEFRUIT PRODUCE LLC 763,938 6.79%
PAULMEX INT'L. LTD 695,312 6.18%
FOOD SOURCE TEXAS 690,916 6.14%
SPLENDID PRODUCTS 551,570 4.90%
COAST TROPICAL 426,825 3.79%
LONDON FRUIT, INC. 405,567 3.61%
FARMER`S BEST INT. LLC 335,376 2.98%
EB INTERNATIONAL 293,436 2.61%
DEKALB FARMERS, MARKET 255,792 2.27%
BEST ORIENTAL PRODUCE, INC. 242,534 2.16%
HIGUERAL PRODUCE, INC 238,307 2.12%
VISION PRODUCE PARTNERS OF TEXAS LLC. 180,407 1.60%
PACIFIC ORGANIC, INC. 180,132 1.60%
GRANDE PRODUCE LTD,CO. 170,328 1.51%
PROVIDENCIA FRESH LLC 163,848 1.46%
RCF PRODUCE INC. 153,875 1.37%
LA MINITA PRODUCE, LLC 122,800 1.09%
G.MENDEZ AND COMPANY INC 114,888 1.02%
DIAZTECA COMPANY 114,592 1.02%
GLOBE PRODUCE DISTRIBUTING INC 101,610 0.90%
TAVILLA SALES CO. 94,080 0.84%
EMPACADORA DE MANGO DEL NOROESTE S.A DE C.V 91,033 0.81%
DON QUIJOTE PRODUCE 88,944 0.79%
J & D PRODUCE 86,780 0.77%
CABELLO PRODUCE CORP. 86,028 0.76%
IPA TRADING GROUP 75,240 0.67%
CENTRAL AMERICAN PRODUCE INC. 52,642 0.47%
CAPILLA FARMS USA 52,291 0.46%
FRESH TEX PRODUCE 51,768 0.46%
US FRUIT AND VEG 47,328 0.42%
WAL-MART STORES, INC 42,240 0.38%
MULTIFRESH PRODUCE 35,640 0.32%
G.P.I. 31,680 0.28%
AGROSON LLC. 31,680 0.28%
PROGRESO PRODUCE LTD 1LP 29,664 0.26%
GLOBAL FRESH 27,892 0.25%
ROCA FUERTE LLC 25,808 0.23%
SWEET SEASON,LLC 24,444 0.22%
SOLES 22,868 0.20%
EARTHBOUND FARM 22,440 0.20%
AMAZON PRODUCE NETWORK OF CALIFORNIA, LLC 21,528 0.19%
GROMEX INC. 20,292 0.18%
MERCTROPIC CORPORATION 19,800 0.18%
C & T PRODUCE INC 18,336 0.16%
GRUPO 15 INTERNATIONAL, LLC 18,063 0.16%
V&L PRODUCE 17,248 0.15%
NATURES FRESH SHIPPERS INC 13,371 0.12%
NEW MUNDOEXPORT FRUITS INC. 13,276 0.12%
DEL RIO PRODUCE 12,846 0.11%
DAYKA & HACKETT LLC 9,792 0.09%
PRIMOS PRODUCE INC. 8,903 0.08%
EGIS  EXPORTATION  INC. 8,373 0.07%
LATIN SPECIALTIES PRODUCE CORP. 7,920 0.07%
THE OPPENHEIMER GROUP 4,814 0.04%
VISION PRODUCE PARTNERS OF TEXAS, LLC. 4,608 0.04%
FRESKA PRODUCE 4,488 0.04%
WESTLAKE DISTRIBUTORS 4,224 0.04%
CIRULI BROTHERS, LLC 4,160 0.04%
REDELLA 4,080 0.04%
PLATINUM GROWERS INC. 3,801 0.03%
OAXACA MEXICAN PRODUCE 3,631 0.03%
ALPINE MARKETING CO. 2,592 0.02%

Total general:    
                         11,249,096  100.00%


EMEX DATA: 2012 Season totals by Cultivar through April 8, 2012....












Acumulado General Temporada 2012


Variedad Calibre Total Cajas Total %
ATAULFO 6 347 0.01%
  8 258 0.00%
  9 3,302 0.05%
  10 23,986 0.35%
  11 3,743 0.05%
  12 381,972 5.52%
  13 89,254 1.29%
  14 1,368,889 19.78%
  15 91,715 1.33%
  16 1,527,430 22.07%
  18 1,627,458 23.51%
  20 971,730 14.04%
  22 521,537 7.54%
  23 20,294 0.29%
  24 119,023 1.72%
  26 8,042 0.12%
  28 146 0.00%
  36 130,650 1.89%
  BABY 31,201 0.45%
Total ATAULFO   6,920,977 61.52%
HADEN 6 4,173 0.29%
  7 36,767 2.55%
  8 86,529 5.99%
  9 207,971 14.41%
  10 404,713 28.03%
  12 497,096 34.43%
  14 199,884 13.85%
  16 882 0.06%
  22 560 0.04%
  33 3,920 0.27%
  39 1,120 0.08%
Total HADEN   1,443,615 12.83%
TOMMY 5 741 0.03%
  6 162,580 5.80%
  7 306,750 10.94%
  8 441,487 15.75%
  9 676,873 24.14%
  10 725,058 25.86%
  12 429,368 15.32%
  14 57,228 2.04%
  20 3,350 0.12%
Total TOMMY   2,803,435 24.92%
ORO 5 511 0.66%
  6 14,888 19.24%
  7 6,232 8.05%
  8 19,421 25.09%
  9 19,820 25.61%
  10 10,296 13.30%
  12 5,388 6.96%
  14 295 0.38%
  20 546 0.71%
Total ORO   77,397 0.69%
MANILA 14 145 3.95%
  16 282 7.68%
  18 1,517 41.31%
  20 557 15.17%
  22 1,171 31.89%
Total MANILA   3,672 0.03%





Total general        11,249,096           100.00%

WEEK 15 : Mexico Packouts for the 8th of April, 2012 ...











Semana 15, del 08 al 14 de Abril de 2012

Estado Variedad Calibre Total Cajas Total %
Michoacán ATAULFO 12 22 0.07%
14 220 0.73%
16 1,128 3.72%
18 9,011 29.70%
20 5,039 16.61%
22 11,881 39.16%
24 3,036 10.01%
Total ATAULFO 30,337 27.07%
HADEN 6 7 0.03%
7 97 0.36%
8 543 2.03%
9 2,201 8.22%
10 8,038 30.03%
12 11,677 43.63%
14 4,202 15.70%
Total HADEN 26,765 23.88%
TOMMY 6 1,242 2.26%
7 2,811 5.11%
8 4,056 7.38%
9 7,207 13.11%
10 19,272 35.06%
12 17,008 30.94%
14 3,369 6.13%
Total TOMMY 54,965 49.05%
Total Michoacán 112,067 78.72%
Nayarit ATAULFO 12 192 4.55%
14 374 8.85%
16 1,536 36.36%
18 960 22.73%
20 202 4.78%
24 960 22.73%
Total ATAULFO 4,224 50.00%
HADEN 9 192 33.33%
10 384 66.67%
Total HADEN 576 6.82%
TOMMY 7 192 5.26%
8 1,536 42.11%
9 960 26.32%
10 960 26.32%
Total TOMMY 3,648 43.18%
Total Nayarit 8,448 5.93%
Campeche TOMMY 8 238 1.09%
9 6,034 27.63%
10 5,446 24.94%
12 7,882 36.09%
14 2,240 10.26%
Total TOMMY 21,840 100.00%
Total Campeche 21,840 15.34%






Total general                         142,355            100.00%






By Cultivar:


Semana 15, del 08 al 14 de Abril de 2012


Variedad Calibre Total Cajas Total %
ATAULFO 12 214 0.62%
  14 594 1.72%
  16 2,664 7.71%
  18 9,971 28.85%
  20 5,241 15.16%
  22 11,881 34.38%
  24 3,996 11.56%
Total ATAULFO   34,561 24.28%
HADEN 6 7 0.03%
  7 97 0.35%
  8 543 1.99%
  9 2,393 8.75%
  10 8,422 30.80%
  12 11,677 42.71%
  14 4,202 15.37%
Total HADEN   27,341 19.21%
TOMMY 6 1,242 1.54%
  7 3,003 3.73%
  8 5,830 7.25%
  9 14,201 17.65%
  10 25,678 31.92%
  12 24,890 30.94%
  14 5,609 6.97%
Total TOMMY   80,453 56.52%
Total general   142,355 100.00%

U.S., Brazil agree on MOU to help Haiti with farming systems ...




locator map of Haiti











By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.





map of Haiti


WASHINGTON, April 10 - The Governments of the United States and Brazil formalized a partnership to improve food security in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Memorandum of Understanding begins with a trilateral agreement with the Government of Haiti to improve agriculture practices and technologies.


“We are excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Brazil and take advantage of our countries’ relative expertise in agriculture,” said Mark Feierstein, Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean at USAID. “By combining efforts, our countries can help others improve nutrition for rural communities and increase incomes for poor farmers.”




In Haiti, the partnership will primarily focus on sharing new technologies and implementing exchange programs and training opportunities. The three governments will: 1) test new varieties of maize, rice, beans, cowpeas and other crops; 2) implement new farming systems that use less water, fertilizer, and seeds; 3) improve mango production; 4) adopt technologies to store and process grains and vegetables; 5) enable farmers to use their land to sustainably produce both food and wood; 6) conduct exchange and training programs for farmers and researchers; and 7) promote nutrition, specifically for mothers and children.



“This partnership leverages the expertise of Brazilians and Americans to make a difference in food security in the region and directly help Haitians,” noted Paul Weisenfeld, Assistant to the Administrator for the Bureau of Food Security at USAID.




The partnership builds upon the U.S. government’s Feed the Future initiative to help nearly 567,000 vulnerable Haitian women, children, and family members escape hunger and poverty and to provide 176,000 children with services to improve their nutrition and prevent stunting and child mortality.



#30

For more news, go to www.Agri-Pulse.com






South Gujarat mango farmers devastated by weather ...








Mango farmers sulking
Himansshu Bhatt, TNN | 



Apr 10, 2012, 10.57PM IST




SURAT: Upbeat mango farmers of south Gujarat are sulking now due to unexpected withering of lots of small fruits. What was expected to be a bumper crop year for mango has been turned into a year of losses.


So worried are the agricultural and horticulture scientists that an emergency meeting of experts and well known award-winning farmers has been called at Navsari Agriculture University (NAU) to discuss the problem and find ways and means to prevent such occurring in future.




The region produces nearly 55-60 per cent of the total mango crop produced in Gujarat.

 



However, the good news is, compared to last season, the crops are going to be about 30-35 per cent higher. Last season was considered as one of the worst years when only 40 per cent of mango production was seen in the region.




"Those who had full-fledged flowering in mid-winter months of November-December are facing maximum problem. No proper pollination took place due to heavy cold when temperatures stayed below 15 degree Celsius, When it started bearing fruits, strong heat in March with temperature above 38 degree Celsius did not let fruits to attain it's normal size and withered," said NI Shah, incharge of Pariya Farm of NAU in Valsad district. In this farm more than 60 different varieties of mango trees are cultivated and studied by agro scientists.



"There is a big loss in varieties like alphonso and kesar. Late blooming varieties have not suffered much," he said.



"At many places, small fruits are seen without gutli (centre seed part or embryo). This will result in these fruits withering away. This has taken place due to fructification without pollination," said NL Patel, head of horticulture department at NAU.



"In kesar and alphanso, this particular phenomenon was seen. These fruits will not reach the maturity and can't be used for eating," he added.



"The situation is worst in Valsad district than Navsari. Navsari will have better percentage yield this year when compared to Valsad," said Shah.



Rajesh Shah, an award-winning mango farmer from Fansa of Valsad, said, "Many in our area have no setting on the trees. The crop will be just 25 per cent here. Moreover this year there is hardly 10 per cent crop in southern states. This will result in mangoes coming to the market very late, may be by mid May."



Sanjay Niak, another farmer from Gandeva of Navsari district said, "Heat and cold both have proved damaging for the mangoes this year . We have suffered losses in kesar and alphanso. We won't have a bumper year like 2009-10 as we were expecting."




Soil Fertility in Africa gets major support ...








Howard G. Buffett Foundation's Brown Revolution Program to Fund Improved Soil Fertility in Africa in Partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Increased investment in healthier soils will help farming families in Africa boost productivity





SEATTLE, November 18, 2011 – The Howard G. Buffett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today announced a joint effort to improve the quality of Africa’s depleted soils. The Buffett Foundation will contribute $2 million to expand the work of N2Africa, an initiative of Wageningen University in The Netherlands supported by the Gates Foundation since 2009.


The N2Africa initiative currently aims to increase productivity of legumes and improve family nutrition, soil health, and farm income by maximizing biological nitrogen fixation with soybeans, groundnuts, common beans, and cowpeas in eight countries: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The funding from the Buffett Foundation will ensure that N2Africa’s scientific approach takes root in Sierra Leone and Liberia.


“Africa needs a ‘brown revolution’ to improve soil quality and increase agricultural productivity,” said Howard G. Buffett, president of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. “Our partnership with the Gates Foundation and our contribution to N2Africa underscores the importance of investing in both soil and seeds as a way to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations.”


In Africa, legume crops such as beans and nuts often fail to “fix” useful amounts of nitrogen because the soil they grow in lacks essential nutrients. Using simple scientific technology farmers can introduce the bacteria, together with the seed and small amounts of other nutrients as fertilizer. This simple package can potentially double the yields of farmers in many cases, and helps to improve the soil.


“When small farmers can produce more while preserving the land’s fertility for future generations, they can improve their families’ nutrition and build self-sufficiency for the long-term,” said Sam Dryden, director of the agricultural development program at the Gates Foundation. “Our partnership with the Buffett Foundation to improve soil health will go a long way to ensure that farming families in Africa have better soils to boost their productivity.”


Buffett also discussed how combining improved seeds with improved soil fertility could effectively address food security challenges in Africa.



“The opportunity to partner with the Gates Foundation and Wageningen University will leverage our current investments in Sierra Leone and Liberia with the Program for Africa’s Seeds Systems (PASS).”
To date, the Gates Foundation has committed $1.8 billion to help millions of small farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia—most of whom are women—grow and sell more food as a way to reduce hunger and poverty. The foundation focuses on the needs of small farmers and on the crops and livestock that are most important to the rural poor.





Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help
all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s
health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United
States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to
the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation
is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda
Gates and Warren Buffett. Learn more at www.gatesfoundation.org or join the conversation at
Facebook and Twitter.


Howard G. Buffett Foundation
Established in 1999, the Howard G. Buffett Foundation’s primary mission is to combat hunger and
improve the standard of living for vulnerable populations throughout the world. The Foundation invests
in a full spectrum of initiatives to address global hunger and food insecurity including: direct
humanitarian aid for populations in crisis; agricultural development for smallholder farmers, particularly
women; livelihood improvement for smallholders through commercial market access; academic and
field research to increase farmer productivity in resource-constrained contexts; and advocacy
campaigns to sustain and scale best practices. Learn more at www.thehowardgbuffettfoundation.org.




http://www.thehowardgbuffettfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/N2AfricaPressRelease_HGBF_BMGF_11.18.2011.pdf




Worst rains in 14 years wash out Ecuadoran farmers ...










by Staff Writers
Babahoyo, Ecuador (AFP) April 3, 2012







Thousands of poor Ecuadoran farmers are watching their livelihoods being washed away, hit by the worst rainfall in 14 years which has cost 24 lives and left a heart-breaking trail of damage.



"What the water gives, the water takes away," said elderly Francisco Barzola, sadly recounting how he has lost everything since the rains came at the start of the year.




"We are suffering with all this water that God has sent us, and which is now up to our necks," he said at his home in Los Compadres in the coastal province of Guayas, which stretches down to the Pacific Ocean.



And more misery is in sight, with the rains predicted to continue for another month in flooded coastal areas. Thousands of people have already been forced to flee, and 186 homes have been left waterlogged and uninhabitable.


Vast rural areas of the coast have been inundated, affecting some 80,000 people and the government has declared a state of emergency in Guayas, as well as in six other provinces.



"The water rose up to 1.2 meters (four feet) in rural areas and has caused incalculable damage," Ramon Gonzalez, mayor of the town of Calceta, told AFP.



The rising rain waters have now caused the worst flooding in Ecuador since the El Nino phenomenon left $4 billion in water damage in 1997-1998, the worst in South American history.


But this time it is not the heating effect of El Nino on the ocean surface which is causing the rain. Rather the current deluge is caused by a weather system bringing high humidity, weather experts said.



About 34,000 hectares of crops have been lost and another 9,000 hectares of rice and corn damaged.



"My chickens and ducks all drowned," said one woman who returned to her home in Salamina to protect it from thieves as the water lapped around her knees. "Families have lost everything, some more than $2,000 in small crops."



Nearby, a house was completely surrounded by water as if it were stranded on an island, abandoned by its occupants and protected by a religious picture placed over the doorway.



In Salamina, the school, church and a park were flooded by a green, stinking water now infested by mosquitoes. The local government has closed schools for the next two weeks because of water damage.



Some parts of the road to Babahoyo, capital of the province of Los Rios, are so flooded that motorized canoes are being used throughout the area to transport people and belongings to safety.



Some local residents are also trying to earn a few dollars by guiding vehicles through the flooded roadways.



Juan Romero, one of the residents, said: "I have had to herd the cattle by swimming or canoeing. There are places you can't get through even on horseback."



He was keeping watch over a pasture where vultures hovered over the carcasses of drowned calves. "I hope that it stops raining," he said.

Related Links
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology




http://www.seeddaily.com/reports/Worst_rains_in_14_years_wash_out_Ecuadoran_farmers_999.html









Group studies fallout from reactor nuclear explosions after Tsunami ...







                                                                                                                                                     

Sampling the Pacific for signs of Fukushima
by Staff Writers



Woods Hole MA (SPX) Apr 10, 2012



Much of the contaminated water washed directly into the Northwest Pacific or collected in the basement of the reactor buildings and seeped slowly out, carrying with it a number of different radionuclides. In addition, several explosions in the reactor buildings sent additional radioactive materials into the atmosphere, much of which eventually landed in the ocean.



An international research team is reporting the results of a research cruise they organized to study the amount, spread, and impacts of radiation released into the ocean from the tsunami-crippled reactors in Fukushima, Japan. The group of 17 researchers and technicians from eight institutions spent 15 days at sea in June 2011 studying ocean currents, and sampling water and marine organisms up to the edge of the exclusion zone around the reactors.



Led by Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist and marine chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the team found that the concentration of several key radioactive substances, or radionuclides, were elevated but varied widely across the study area, reflecting the complex nature of the marine environment.



In addition, although levels of radioactivity in marine life sampled during the cruise were well below levels of concern for humans and the organisms themselves, the researchers leave open the question of whether radioactive materials are accumulating on the seafloor sediments and, if so, whether these might pose a long-term threat to the marine ecosystem. The results appear in the April 2 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).



"Our goal was to provide an independent assessment of what the Japanese were reporting and also to get further off shore to sample in places where we thought the currents would be carrying most of the radionuclides," said Buesseler.




"We also wanted to provide as wide ranging a look as possible at potential impacts on the marine system to give a better idea of what was going on in the region, but also to provide a stronger baseline from which to measure future changes."



On March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake caused a tsunami that devastated the northeast coast of Japan and severely damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant. In the weeks following, emergency crews poured tons of water directly onto the reactors to keep them cool and prevent them from going critical.



Much of the contaminated water washed directly into the Northwest Pacific or collected in the basement of the reactor buildings and seeped slowly out, carrying with it a number of different radionuclides. In addition, several explosions in the reactor buildings sent additional radioactive materials into the atmosphere, much of which eventually landed in the ocean.




Among the materials released were cesium-134 and -137, two radioactive isotopes that do not occur naturally in the ocean. Cesium-134 has a half-life (the time it takes for one half of a given amount of radionuclide to decay) of a little over two years, and so could come only from the reactors at Fukushima.



Cesium-137 has a half-life of roughly 30 years and is known to have entered the Pacific as a result of aboveground nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and 60s, providing a benchmark against which to measure any additional releases from the reactors.



Buesseler, who began his scientific career studying the transport and mixing of artificial radionuclides in the ocean from sources such as weapons testing and the 1986 explosion at Chernobyl, recognized the importance of organizing an oceanographic research mission soon after events at Fukushima began to unfold.



With primary support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and additional support from the National Science Foundation, he brought together an international group that included physical oceanographers Steven Jayne and Irina Rypina, also from WHOI, and marine biologist Nicholas Fisher from the State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook.




The group departed Yokohama, Japan, on June 6 aboard the University of Hawaii research vessel Ka'imikai-o-Kanaloa and sailed a saw-tooth pattern that began 600 kilometers (350 miles) offshore and came as close as 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the damaged power plant.




Along the way, the group conducted extensive water sampling from the surface to as deep as 1,000 meters (3,200 feet) and made more than 100 net tows to collect samples of phytoplankton, zooplankton, and small fish. They also released two dozen drifters, instruments that move with ocean currents and report their position via satellite back to shore.



In addition to their own samples, the group also collected water that they later shipped to labs at seven other institutions. Together, the ongoing effort is examining 15 different radionuclides likely to have been released from Fukushima. Their initial results, detailed in the PNAS paper indicate that the combined amount of radioactive material from the damaged power plant constitutes the largest accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history.



Despite this, analysis of samples from the study site show that the amount of radiation in the ocean fell well below EPA standards that would deem it unsafe to use as drinking water. "We knew that the radionuclides had to be moving off shore very rapidly once they entered the water," said Buesseler.

"Once they did, they quickly dispersed across a wide area and began mixing into the deeper layers of the ocean."



In addition, they found that concentrations of cesium isotopes varied widely from station to station. Data from the drifters helped shed more light on this. First, the region is dominated by the Kuroshio, a large, fast current much like the Gulf Stream that flows north near the coast of Japan before turning east along the shore of the Chiba Peninsula.



At the same time, a smaller, nutrient-rich current known as the Oyashio flows south along the northeast coast and mixes with the Kuroshio offshore from Fukushima.



"Having two strong currents in the region make this a very complex part of the ocean to study," said Jayne, who had studied the region in the past. "It also makes this a very productive part of the ocean and a very active fishery. With all that water moving around in complex ways, areas that are low one day could be high the next.



As if to underscore that complexity, the group found that the Kuroshio acted as a barrier that prevented the movement of radionuclides to the south. In addition, they found the highest levels of radiation not in samples taken within sight of the reactors, but in those taken much further south along the coast of Ibaraki. The drifter tracks later revealed that an eddy, a swirling mass of water that sometimes breaks off from strong currents like the Kuroshio, had formed in the area and hugged the coast, likely drawing in contaminated water and maintaining higher concentrations of radionuclides.



As a result, radiation levels in the eddy were as much as 1,000 times higher than those before the start of the accident, but these remained well below levels of concern for humans and marine organisms and were approximately one-sixth the level of radiation that marine organisms receive from naturally occurring radionuclides such as potassium-40.




Samples of plankton and small fish confirmed this. Levels of cesium isotopes and another, faster-decaying isotope of silver found in the organisms collected during the cruise ranged from below detection level to levels that, while elevated, remained within standards set for human consumption.



"The radioactivity of the fish we caught and analyzed would not pose problems for human consumption," said Fisher. "It does not mean all marine organisms caught in the region are perfectly safe to eat. That's still an open question. There are still likely to be hot spots in sediments close to shore and closer to the power plant that may have resulted in very contaminated species in those areas. Further study and appropriate monitoring will help clarify this issue."



Another open question is why radiation levels in the waters around Fukushima have not decreased since the Japanese stopped emergency cooling operations. According to Buesseler, it may be an indication that the ground surrounding the reactors has become saturated with contaminated water that is slowly seeping out in to the ocean. It may also be a sign that radionuclides in ocean sediments have become remobilized.


"What this means for the marine environment of the Northwest Pacific over the long term is something that we need to keep our eyes on," said Buesseler.



Read the Oceanus magazine article here.