Via Boing Boing, an excellent article by Maggie Koerth-Baker: No, Fukushima is not killing off massive quantities of sea life near California. Excerpt:
Deep Sea News, a blog written largely by professional ocean scientists, has been doing a really good job of debunking bogus stories about Fukushima radiation affecting ocean wildlife near North America. And there are a lot to choose from. It's damn near a genre, at this point — a genre that's full of misleading information and flat-out fabrications. For instance, the latest story to circulate on social media is all about how Fukushima radiation is causing massive die-offs of sea life off the coast of California.
But this claim falls apart pretty quickly. At Deep Sea News, Craig McClaine, Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, found that, perhaps unsurprisingly, the real science behind this story has nothing to do with radiation or Fukushima.
Instead, writers at Natural News apparently took a scientific journal article about climate and food cycles in the deep ocean and just decided, without any basis, that the bloom/die-off cycles recorded in the paper must have been caused by Fukushima. This, despite the fact that those cycles have been happening since before 2011.
McClaine breaks down the research paper that Natural News used to make their Fukushima claims and explains what's really going on. One key point, the paper isn't even about mysterious deaths of massive amounts of marine creatures. It's about bloom/die-off cycles, a natural process in which small creatures like algae and jelly-like salps explode in number and then die, sinking to the seafloor where their bodies feed other animals.
When the paper says that the die-offs are larger than they used to be, what it's really saying is that populations of algae and salps are getting larger and that sudden blooms in those populations are getting bigger. The real science is not a story about death, at all. It's a story about a food cycle on steroids.