Posts Tagged ‘angler outreach’

Fishing enthusiasts at the Cerritos Rod & Gun Club in November learned about which fish caught off the Palos Verdes Shelf they should avoid.

“I was definitely surprised at all the other species of fish in addition to the white croaker that we shouldn’t be eating,” said Cerritos Rod & Gun Club President Charles Sharp.

Check out the video below where two members of the club talk about the impact of our presentation. If you’re interested in having FCEC talk with your fishing group, let us know by leaving a comment below or emailing

FCEC is coming to a fishing spot near you! Over the past year our program has identified several fishing locations between Seal Beach and Santa Monica that will be targeted for signage, warning about local fish contamination.

Whether piers or local fishing spots, the goal is that each locale will host a sign that warns against consuming the five most contaminated fish. The signs, which are estimated to be installed by Summer 2011, will also direct anglers to FCEC’s website for more information.

*Photo courtesy of

On Thursday, July 29th, FCEC headed out to the Redondo Beach Rod and Gun Club to talk shop about fish contamination in our region. Many, if not most, in attendance are active anglers or have friends and family that fish on occasion.

FCEC believes that educating anglers with personal outreach is one of the best ways to protect human health. When anglers know what fish are most contaminated they are more likely to throw those fish back and not consume them. In all, 20 tip cards were handed out at the event!

Below is a video of Redondo Beach Rod and Gun Club member, David, who tells FCEC why the information he heard during the presentation was so helpful.

July 31st was a great day to celebrate our fishing culture in Southern California and FCEC!

Over 120 people graced the Venice Pier for educational workshops, free food, games and of course great prizes! During the fun-filled afternoon, FCEC was able to reach a substantial number of anglers (and kids!) about fish contamination issues along the Palos Verdes Shelf.

With the help of veteran fisherman Larry Fukuhara from Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, FCEC addressed better fishing practices, such as how to tie fishing line to target certain fish and which fish to release.

This unique community outreach experience was our way of saying thank you to all those who make our work so meaningful. Thank you also to our partners who made the day possible: Seafood for the Future, Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, Heal the Bay, Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, James’ Beach Restaurant and Sidewalk Café.

It was also a great way to have a little fun in the Southern California sun while talking fish! Check out pictures from the event in our Facebook Fisherman Appreciation Day photo album. Do you have pictures from the event? Share them on our wall.

Do you like to fish? How about free food, fun games and prizes? Well, if your answer is yes to any of these (not-so-tough) questions you should bring your family and friends on out to FCEC’s Fisherman Appreciation Day in Venice this coming Saturday.

Here are the details:

Location: End of Venice Pier

Date: July 31st, 2010

Time: 12:00pm – 4:00pm

The family friendly event will have interactive games and educational displays. There will be yummy grub and expert tips on how to hone your fishing skills, as well as what locally caught fish are safe to eat and what should be avoided.

Larry Fukuhara of the fabulous Cabrillo Marine Aquarium will hold a fishing demo and those that attend will receive a FREE FCEC tote bag, a pack of lures and hooks and lunch provided by James Beach and The Sidewalk Cafe!

Fisherman Appreciation Day is FCEC’s way to say thanks to all the anglers out there that keep our Southern California piers vibrant. It’s also for the community at large, to help educate and entice more people to grab their fishing polls and cast a line!

So why not come out? For more info, call 562-597-0205 or check out this even poster.

Frankie Orrala is an outreach coordinator and angler educator for Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica based environmental group. Frankie is originally from Ecuador, where he studied biology and fisheries management.

FCEC: Frankie, you help coordinate a lot of angler outreach surveys for FCEC and Heal the Bay. Why is this work such an important part of educating the public about fish contamination?

Frankie Orrala: This work is very important because we warn and inform the angler community about fish contamination and long-term effects of fish consumption if proper precautions are not taken. Many of the anglers plan to eat what they catch, and many of them have never been exposed to the information we disseminate.

FCEC: What kind of information do you gather while at piers where you talk to anglers?

Frankie Orrala: First of all I am interested in their fishing activities. I ask them how they have been doing and what kind of fish they catch. Then I explain in detail the problem of the Palos Verdes Shelf and methods of fish consumption to reduce exposure to contaminants. Finally, I create a working relationship between fishermen and Heal the Bay.

FCEC: What sort of feedback do you get from anglers?

Frankie Orrala: Most of the pier anglers have no idea that there are contaminated fish around the Palos Verdes Shelf and at the end of our intervention they wonder what kind of fish they can eat. Another question we get often is “why are there no signs on the piers that say what fish are not to be eaten”. They are always grateful for the time we spend with them to explain the problem. But signs about proper fish consumption are coming to local piers very soon!

FCEC: What sort of impact do you think this type of outreach has on these anglers?

Frankie Orrala: I’m sure the result is positive, anglers always express their appreciation, and I believe that they follow our recommendations. There is still much to do, our community is very diverse and we must reach all anglers. We need to not only reach anglers from the piers but also the general public who is often unaware of the fish contamination as well.

FCEC: What was your most memorable experience while on the job?

Frankie Orrala: I have had lots of enriching moments with people. There are so many good moments to share that it is hard to say. I remember one day at Venice pier my colleagues and I looked at the sea and saw a lot of dolphins. Everyone froze, including fishermen and tourists. Nobody cared about what they were catching at this point, they only wanted to see a wonderful show, which these marine mammals gave us for several minutes. Another wonderful experience that sometimes happens is when someone catches a large shark at the pier, all of the fishermen unite to help reel it in!

If you live along the coast you probably grew up visiting a pier to go fishing during the summer. With friends or family or maybe even by yourself, you casted a line out into the deep blue waters hoping to snag that great big fish for your bucket.

FCEC and our partners know that fishing is a unique community experience, one that is passed down from generation to generation. It’s as much a part of the So Cal culture as the sun itself. As such, we are honoring all anglers along with their families during our first Fisherman Appreciation Day on Saturday, July 31st at the Venice Pier from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the afternoon.

The event will offer a variety of workshops, booths and presentations to educate and entertain local fisherman. Not only will we be educating anglers about how to protect themselves from contaminated fish species (white croaker, black croaker, barracuda, barred sandbass and topsmelt), but about how to catch delicious healthy fish like halibut.

Families are welcome and free meals and entertainment will be provided! It’s a wonderful way to spend a Saturday with your family outside, on the pier learning about an activity that can become a lifelong passion.

Fisherman Appreciation Day is our way of saying “thank you” to all those anglers out there that keep our piers vibrant and the culture of fishing alive and well. It’s our way of letting those that love the sport of fishing know about the steps they should take to catch the best fish for themselves and for their families.

We hope to see you there!

The Fish Contamination Education Collaborative (FCEC) was recently honored with a Silver Anvil Award, a distinction awarded every year to organizations that have made a real impact, forging public opinion in a positive manner. The Silver Anvil Award, which is awarded by Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), is one of the public relations profession’s most highly regarded honors.

“As usual, finalists in this year’s Silver Anvil Awards are among the very top public relations programs in our industry,” said James J. Roop, APR, Fellow PRSA, 2010 Awards and Honors Committee chair. “The Silver Anvils continue to recognize the best practices in our field.”

FCEC’s approach to angler and community outreach is what made the project stand out, especially as project results demonstrated that outreach had a positive effect on reducing the likelihood of individuals eating contaminated fish.

FCEC highlighted results showing that participants who reported eating contaminated fish dropped from 10% to 0% in the Chinese community, and from 39% to 3% in the Vietnamese community after outreach. FCEC’s fisherman-focused campaign demonstrated that outreach reduced the number of contaminated fish leaving local piers by 93%.

“Through their selection for the profession’s most prestigious award, FCEC joins an elite group of winners whose work demonstrates the value of public relations to the organizations we represent, as well as the communities they serve,” said PRSA Chair Gary McCormick. “It is an honor to award them the PRSA Silver Anvil for their exemplary work to recognize the program’s achievement in public relations and its indispensable value as integral to business planning, strategy and success.”

So you want to know what fish you caught? Not only that, but you want to know if the fish is safe for consumption or if you should throw it back?

Not to worry, FCEC to the rescue!

Beginning in May, FCEC is using a brand new, tip card reflecting the 2009 fish consumption advisory that is being distributed to fishermen throughout the region. It will help people make educated choices about what to do with the fish they catch.

New information about proper fish preparation and consumption methods is also included on the card in hopes to reduce consumption of contaminated fish.

Currently available in English, the card will soon be available in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese. It’s currently being handed out for FREE at local Los Angeles and Orange County piers from Santa Monica pier to Seal Beach pier.

The tip card helps anglers determine if the fish they catch should be thrown back or prepared following specific guidelines. Fish to avoid include white croaker, barred sand bass, topsmelt, barracuda and black croaker. The skinless fillets of other locally caught fish can be eaten once a week.

Have you come across our new tip card? Does any of the information come as a surprise to you? If so, we’d like to hear from you! So please, feel free to comment below.

FCEC is proud of its partners. In fact, the FCEC community and supporters are what make our work possible. FCEC was honored to receive the EPA’s 2009 National Achievements in Environmental Justice Award.

On February 10th, 2010, an awards ceremony was held to honor the entire FCEC team. Below is a slideshow that was showcased during the event, highlighting the hard work our partners undertook over the past several years. The award was a testament to the effectiveness of our program and the committed partners responsible for carrying it out in the community.

Thanks again and let’s keep up the good work!