Chairman of the AEA Dr. Ranjith Wijeyawardena said that tests are being carried out on all types of fish imported to the country.
“During our tests we had even detected small levels of radiation in one consignment of imported fish so this shows we need to carry out these tests,” Wijeyawardena told the Colombo Gazette.
He said that while the radiation levels detected in the fish consignment recently was not at a dangerous level the authorities need to be vigilant as some fish may have even higher levels of radiation.
Wijeywardena said that the tests were initially carried out last year following the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan which had damaged a nuclear power plant.
Contaminated water was released into the sea following the disaster and this raised fears that fish in a wide area may have been affected by radioactive material.
“We began the tests in collaboration with the health ministry and imported fish is not released to the importer until we issue a certification after we carry out the tests at our lab,” Wijeywardena said.
Asked for how long such radiation tests will have to be carried out Dr. Wijeywardena said that it’s hard to specify a time period as there are some radioactive material which can remain a threat for several years after it is released in the environment.
“There were short term and long term threats from the Fukushima nuclear disaster and we have already dealt with the short term threat. But the long term concern is still there and that is what we are still looking at,” Wijeywardena said.
He said local fish importers have been up in arms over the tests being carried out on the imported fish as it delays the release of the consignment at the port.
As a result the AEA is to meet fish importers later this month to educate them on the need to carry out the radiation tests in the best interest of the public. (Colombo Gazette)