Posted: Aug 19, 2011 3:34 PM ET
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2011 10:06 PM ET
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Beginning of Story ContentThe Canadian Food Inspection Agency plans to start testing fish off the coast of British Columbia for the presence of radiation stemming from the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year.
The agency has not yet released any specific details on the testing program, but did say it expects the test results to be well below Health Canada's actionable levels for radiation.
Fisheries activist Alexandra Morton with the Raincoast Research Society says she supports the testing, but calls the announcement a political move. Morton says millions of sockeye have started returning to the Fraser River and the fishing season is already well underway.
Salmon are a particular concern to Morton and others because their wide-ranging migration patterns can take them right across the Pacific Ocean to the coast of Japan.
"If they were actually concerned about the health of people and the fish, they would have started this actually at the beginning of the commercial openings. But to release this two days before the disease hearings at the Cohen inquiry, to me it's a political statement, it's a political effort to appear responsible," she said.
The Cohen Commission hearings into the collapse of the 2009 Fraser River sockeye salmon run resumed in Vancouver earlier this week.
Morton also wants the CFIA to test farmed salmon, because she says trace amounts of radiation were detected in seaweed on the B.C. coast.