Document Details


Title:
RESEARCH PROPOSAL - TOXICITY LEVELS IN FISH POPULATIONS AT ENEWETAK, MARSHALL ISLANDS
Subject Terms:
AQUATIC ECOSYSTEMS; RADIOACTIVITY
Document Location:
Location - NNSA/NSO Nuclear Testing Archive Address - P.O. Box 98521 City - Las Vegas State - NV Zip - 89193-8521 Phone - (702)794-5106 Fax - (702)862-4240 Email - CIC@NV.DOE.GOV
Document Type:
REPORT
Publication Date:
1974 Jul 30
Declassification Status:
Never classified
Document Pages:
0036
Accession Number:
NV0045207
Originating Research Org.:
U HAWAII
OpenNet Entry Date:
1994 Aug 26
Description/Abstract:
CIGUATERA, THE DISEASE RESULTING FROM EATING CERTAIN TROPICAL REEF FIS HES, IS CIRCUMTROPICAL BUT IS HIGHLY VARIABLE IN BOTH SPACE AND TIME. REEF FISHES ABOUT ISLANDS MAY SUDDENLY BECOME TOXIC AND THEN EITHER R EMAINING TOXIC FOR DECADES OR DISPLAY A SLOWLY DECLINING TOXICITY. THE CAUSES OF A RISE IN TOXICITY ARE UNKNOWN BUT A WIDELY-HELD HYPOTHESIS IS THAT A DISRUPTION OF THE MARINE BOTTOM COMMUNITY AS FROM BLASTING OR DREDGING TRIGGERS THE GROWTH OF A BENTHIC TOXIGENIC MICROBIAL FORM (AN ALGA, YEAST, MOLD OR BACTERIUM) THAT SUPPLIES THE TOXIN TO THE FI SHES THROUGHT THE FOOD CHAIN. IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED THAT BOTH HERBIV ORES AND CARNIVORES CARRY THE SAME TOXIN AND THAT IT IS CONCENTRATED I N HIGHER TROPHIC LEVELS IN CERTAIN CORAL REEF COMMUNITIES. IN THE MARSHALL ISLANDS THE DISEASE IS WELL KNOWN; JALUIT HAS HAD TOXI C FISHES SINCE GERMAN TIMES, AND MAJURO SUFFERED AN EPIDEMIC IN THE 19 50"S THAT STILL CONTINUES AT LOWER LEVELS. THE PRESENT TOXICITY LEVELS AND THE PATTERN OF DISTRIBUTION OF TOXIC FISHES AT ENEWETAK ARE UNKNO WN, BUT A FEW RANDOM REPORTS INDICATE THAT SOME FISHES ARE TOXIC. IF THE ENEWETAKESE RETURN TO THEIR ATOLL AND FIND THE FISH TO BE POISO NOUS TO EAT THEY MAY BLAME THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION OR OTHER INVOL VED AGENCIES, EITHER FOR ACTIVITIES DURING THE TESTING PROGRAM OR FOR CHANGES MADE DURING THE CLEAN-UP. WE PROPOSE TO ESTABLISH PRESENT LEV ELS OF TOXICITY AND THE DISTRIBUTION OF TOXIC SPECIES OF ENEWETAK FISH ES, AND TO FURTHER MONITOR THE LEVELS OF TOXICITY AGAIN AFTER THE CLEA NUP AND FOR A PERIOD OF SEVERAL YEARS. OUR RESULTS WILL GIVE THOSE WHO MIGHT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR PERTURBATIONS OF THE ENEWETAK ENVIRONME NT A FACTUAL BASIS FOR DISCUSSION WITH THE ISLANDERS AND THEIR REPRESE NTATIVES. ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF MOST FISH SAMPLES IS USUALLY NEEDED FOR CIGUATERA BIOASSAY AND THEREFORE THESE SAMPLES MAY ALSO BE USED F OR MONITORING LEVELS OF RADIOACTIVITY.


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