Last August Japan finally released thousands of tons of treated Fukushima radioactive wastewater into the sea after years of negotiations with neighbouring countries. It was a contentious decision even after Japanese officials promised the treated nuclear waste was safe.
Just three months later, thousands of tons of dead fish have washed up on a beach less than 250 miles, 400 km from the stricken nuclear plant. At this moment there is no indication as to why the fish have died. However, the enormous size of the die-off is causing speculation that the release of treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant could be to blame for the havoc brought on local ecosystems. The dead fish, mainly sardines and mackerel washed up on the beaches of Hakodate on the North Island on Thursday morning, just a couple of hundred miles north of Fukushima.
Bags of radioactive waste are seen piled up at a temporary storage site in Tomioka, Fukushima Prefecture| KYODO.
Officials could not come up with an explanation for the phenomenon, but Takashi Fujioka, a Hakodate Fisheries Research Institute researcher, posited a number of theories as to why the fish could have died en masse. He said they may have become exhausted due to a lack of oxygen while moving in a densely packed school in shallow waters or may have suddenly entered cold waters during their migration and succumbed to shock.