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“The current levels of contamination in the fish and seafood from the Fukushima coast will continue for a while, perhaps more than 10 years, judging from the progress in the cleanup process,” Yamazaki said in an email.

Buesseler, who led an international research cruise off northeastern Japan in 2011 to study the spread of radionuclides from the Fukushima plant, says predicting patterns of contamination requires more than monitoring data on fish. Careful study of the ocean waters and sediments is also needed to determine how quickly the system will recover.

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Associated Press Writer Mari Yamaguchi contributed to this report.