Archive for the ‘Fish Advisory’ Category

Despite what a lot of people might think, all fish don’t look alike, and it doesn’t take an expert like Dr. Franklin to tell them apart. That’s why he and FCEC put together a training session in late August to help market inspectors learn to quickly and accurately identify a local hazardous fish: the white croaker. Over the course of 3 hours, the presenters and the inspectors went over the basic history and aims of the various monitoring, enforcement and education programs, the health effects that make identifying contaminated fish so important and a 4-step comparison process to identify the white croaker.

At the end of the morning, much to the group’s excitement, Dr. Franklin tested their training by asking them to identify fresh fish specimen he had brought with him. The results didn’t disappoint. After the session ended, many of the participants expressed their gratitude to the program. “Wish all Environmental Health inspectors could be attending this training!” said one attendee. And in a way you can all attend. Take a look at our slideshow below and see what you can learn about identifying white croaker. Then let us know how you are able to tell a healthy fish apart from a contaminated one.

When you are out on the piers, it is important to identify the fish you catch; now, we are making it fun by turning it into a contest! If you’re one who enjoys fishing off the beautiful Southern California coast between the Santa Monica and Seal Beach piers, it’s important to be able to identify the differences between healthy fish to eat and the local contaminated fish. Check out our “Name that Fish” slideshow below and test yourself to see if you can identify and differentiate between the healthy fish to eat and the do not consume fish!

Correctly identify each fish in the slide show (1 through 6) by answering in the comment section below by July 27th. Those who answer correctly will be entered in a drawing to win a Day Fishing Trip for 2 courtesy of LA Harbor Sportfishing! The winner will be announced on July 28th.

If you’re looking to catch some helpful hints, check out our useful resources on our YouTube channel, Healthy Fish to Eat page and Southern California Fish Consumption Advisory page!

Use these new signs as an easy reference.The next time that you are on a local pier, beach or fishing area, keep an eye out for our new fish advisory signs.  These new signs reflect the latest fish advisory set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazards Assessment and will be posted at 29 locations by the end of the summer.

The fish advisory signs remind anglers to protect their health and the health of their families by not eating the five most contaminated fish caught between Santa Monica Pier and Seal Beach Pier: white croaker, barred sand bass, black croaker, topsmelt and barracuda.

The messaging on the signs is printed in English, Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese, so that anglers who speak languages other than English can understand the information.  It was crafted in collaboration with our partners and got positive reviews by anglers on the piers.  We are excited to know that these signs will help anglers to easily determine which fish should not be consumed.

Check out the signs for yourself and let us know what you think.  Use the Google map below to find a fishing location near you.

View larger map


If you are looking for additional information about the new signs, here is a roundup of the recent media coverage on them:

“Group warns anglers not to eat some fish they catch”LA Daily News and sister papers

“New ‘Contaminated Fish’ Signs to be Posted in Southern California” – KTLA 5

“Piers get new signs warning against eating 5 kinds of fish”Daily Breeze

“Pier signs warn Southland anglers against eating some fish” – ABC 7

“Signs Warn Shore Anglers of Contaminated Fish”Marina del Rey Patch and sister sites

FCEC DisplayWould you like to join us in protecting the public against fish contamination?  FCEC is now offering Booth in a Box; this is a perfect way for organizations to provide information on the Palos Verdes Shelf contamination and fish consumption guidelines with little effort and no cost.

If you’re an angling club hosting a workshop, a community organization attending a health fair, or an environmental group planning an educational event, contact us about obtaining a Booth in a Box.  The Booth in a Box contains all of our relevant education materials: brochures, tip cards, eNewsletter sign-up sheets and stickers.  We also offer our materials in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.  Once you receive the Booth in a Box, all that you will need to do is set up a table and distribute the materials.

Whether you love fishing or are passionate about protecting the public against toxic chemicals, you can help to inform your community about fish contamination.  Booth in a Box is easy to participate in, but goes a long way toward keeping your families, friends and neighbors safe.

To obtain a Booth in a Box for your organization, contact Jeanette Garcia at or call (562) 597-0205.

Have questions about this program?  Not sure if your organization is right for this opportunity? Email us or leave a comment below.

FCEC MapDid you know our site now features a new page that shows information that will be useful to everyone, from anglers to families?  We proudly unveil the FCEC map, which highlights a few things:

Pier Locations by Zone

We often mention how fish consumption guidelines vary by fishing zone: white croaker, barred sand bass, topsmelt, black croaker and barracuda should not be eaten if caught from the red zone.   Black croaker and barracuda should also not be eaten if caught from the yellow zone.

What might have been difficult to figure out though, was which zone your pier falls under.  Now, you can use our FCEC map to determine that information.  All piers from Ventura Harbor to San Clemente Point are marked according to zone.

Bait & Tackle Shops

Not sure if there are any bait & tackle shops near your house or a certain pier?  The FCEC map marks those locations as well; just look for a fish-head and rod.

Community Organizations

The map also highlights several community organizations, including angling clubs, environmental organizations, aquariums and ethnic wellness services.  The United Anglers of Southern California, Heal the Bay, Cabrillo Marine AquariumAquarium of the Pacific and Boat People SOS are all on there.

We hope you will use this map frequently; it’s there not only to help you determine which fishing zone a pier is located within, but also to serve as a directory for places related to fishing, the ocean and public health.

If you have any suggestions for additional locations that would be useful to you, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or email us.

We have another fish identification video for you!  This time, it’s about the barred sand bass, a very common sportfish in Southern California.

The barred sand bass is contaminated with DDT and PCBs, so it’s not safe for eating if caught between fishing areas from Santa Monica to Seal Beach.  Those who are fishing north of Santa Monica and south of Seal Beach can check our fish consumption advisory for a different set of guidelines.

For helpful tips on how to tell this fish from other species, watch the video below.

Versions of this video with Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese subtitles are on our YouTube channel.  You can check out videos of the white croaker and topsmelt on there as well.

If you have any questions about the barred sand bass or other fish, shoot us a comment below.  And please help us spread this information by sharing this video with others.

So far, FCEC has provided you with videos that help you identify fish you should not eat, such as the white croaker and the topsmelt. Now, we’ve launched a page to highlight fish caught off of the Palos Verdes Shelf that are reasonably safe to eat–as long as they are prepared properly and consumed in moderation.

Our Healthy Fish to Eat page has information on fish in Southern California that are safe to eat with certain restrictions.  We’ve included information on each species’ usual habitats and some suggestions on bait and tackle.

If you do happen to catch these fish, remember to follow these guidelines in order to protect your health: prepare them properly, only eat the skinless fillets, and don’t eat these fish more than once a week.

Here are a few interesting ones; check out our page to see the rest:

California Scorpionfish


Shovelnose Guitarfish

What do you think?  Any thoughts or questions?  Leave a comment below.

Remember our earlier video on the white croaker?  It’s a fish caught off of the Palos Verdes Shelf in Southern California that you should not eat.

Here’s a video with tips on identifying another fish: the topsmelt.  It may be a small fish, but like the white croaker, it’s highly contaminated with chemicals called DDT and PCBs.  If you want to easily identify it, look for a dark stripe that runs down the length of its body.

We have versions of this video with ChineseVietnamese and Spanish subtitles on our YouTube channel.  And while you’re watching, be sure to share this video with others; you’ll help to keep them informed on fish contamination in Southern California.

There will also be more videos to help you identify other highly contaminated fish, so be on the lookout for them!

White croaker. It’s plentiful. It’s easy to catch, and if you are fishing around the Palos Verdes Shelf in Southern California, it’s also highly contaminated with toxins; hence the reason why you should never eat the white croaker.

Below is a short introductory video that explains the history behind this contamination, as well as easy tips on how to identify the white croaker.

If you’d like to watch the video in Chinese, Spanish or Vietnamese, please visit our YouTube channel. Also, let us know what you think about our white croaker video in the comment section below!

Catching and eating fish used to be as simple as that: first you catch the fish then you eat it.

Well, if you’ve been following FCEC’s recommendations, depending on the fish you hook, you may very well release it back into the ocean and never take it home. But what do you do if you catch a fish that is safe for consumption?

This little video below provides some answers and shows how to correctly prepare your fish before you eat it.

After watching it, we’d love to know how you’ve been preparing your fish, so feel free to share your response with us in the comment section below.