Posts Tagged ‘BPSOS’

Like most of us, many local Chinese and Vietnamese community members are foodies. They are passionate about what they eat and since fish is a regular part of the Chinese and Vietnamese diet, active partnerships with the Herald Community Center (HCC) and Boat People SOS (BPSOS) have been critical in connecting FCEC’s message with these affected community members.

Although many local Chinese and Vietnamese community members are avid fish lovers, many have never heard of FCEC or about the health risks concerning contaminated fish consumption before HCC and BPSOS provided outreach. In the past, language was a barrier to delivering the Do Not Consume (DNC) message to this audience. Now with the help of HCC and BPSOS, FCEC’s “How to Prepare Fish Safely” video has been viewed by various Chinese and Vietnamese communities to drive the message home. At first, there were mixed feelings regarding the video as community members expressed their acquired preference for preparing fish whole. The “fish won’t taste good…if we take away all the good parts!” voiced a concerned Vietnamese community member.

However, after learning that safe fish properly filleted and then grilled, baked or broiled is a healthier and safer alternative for their family, community members were much more receptive and appreciative of the DNC message. At the workshops, many community members were eager to ask questions and were impressed overall by the research and effort EPA has put forth to protect the public’s health. Many HCC workshop participants even said they were “excited to pass on the message and pass on FCEC’s tip cards to family and friends that go fishing!” Within the last year, HCC and BPSOS have helped FCEC reach over 800 Chinese and Vietnamese community members through informative workshops and distributing tip cards.  HCC even placed an ad highlighting the DNC message in the Herald Monthly, which reaches 40,000 Chinese subscribers monthly.

FCEC would like to thank our partners HCC and BPSOS for another successful year of outreach and helping protect the health of these local communities!

On Thursday September 15, 2011, FCEC stakeholders, representatives and partners gathered in downtown Long Beach at the NOAA office for the annual Strategic Planning Meeting. The meeting was facilitated by Lori Lewis (Environmental Protection Agency [EPA]), who had been keeping the Strategic Planning Meetings running smoothly for more than seven years now. Since this year marks the Institutional Controls’ 10 Year Anniversary, Carmen White (EPA) kicked off the meeting with an overview of what has been accomplished and where FCEC is headed. Next, Gabrielle Dorr (Montrose Settlements Restoration Program [MSRP]) spoke about MSRP’s past year successes, including bald eagle triplets hatching among the Channel Islands. Marita Santos (Los Angeles County Public Health) took the podium next to update the group on pier signage progress. Presentations on angler outreach followed. A number of presenters then spoke on enforcement and monitoring. Concluding the morning session was a spirited presentation on Fishermen Appreciation Day delivered by Frankie Orrala (Heal the Bay).

Hard hat awards were presented to a handful of organizations to recognize their longstanding contributions to FCEC efforts (and other efforts related to mitigating the effects of the PV Shelf which came before FCEC, or as Gwangyu Wang said “…long before FCEC.”)  Award recipients included Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG), Heal the Bay, Los Angeles County Public Health, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission.

After refueling with lunch, meeting attendees broke out into four smaller groups. Each group engaged in topic discussions related to three project components: angler outreach, fish tissue sampling and market inspections. Groups brainstormed ideas about how their organizations could help with each of these efforts and how each of these efforts could contribute to their own work. Groups reconvened at the end of each topic discussion to share ideas and identify common themes. The meeting concluded with a discussion of next steps (not to mention an erroneous fire alarm.) Congratulations to everyone involved on 10 years of ICs efforts!

Lunar New Year was on February 3, 2011 and we hope those who celebrated had a happy one.  Lunar New Year is a holiday celebrated by many Asian cultures and marks the end of the winter season.

Like the Western New Year, many people wish each other future prosperity and happiness.  Other traditions include cleaning the house to sweep away ill fortunes, giving money in red envelopes to loved ones as tokens of luck, and honoring elders and ancestors.

Lunar New Year and Fish Contamination?

So what does Lunar New Year have to do with FCEC or fish contamination?

Two of our partners attended Lunar New Year festivals and set up displays with information about FCEC and fish contamination.

Since fishermen can be of any heritage, we think it’s important to educate people of all cultures about fish contamination.  Lunar New Year–a holiday where people hope for good health and fortune–especially fits with our goals of reducing the consumption of contaminated fish and keeping people healthy.

Herald Community Center at the Chinese New Year Festival

Representatives from Herald Community Center (HCC) attended the Chinese New Year Festival in San Gabriel, CA on Saturday, February 5.  HCC reaches out to the Chinese community on behalf of FCEC.  Check out photos of the event in the slideshow below; we hope you love the reps’ bright orange vests as much as we do.

Boat People SOS at the Tết Festival

Boat People SOS (BPSOS)–our partner who reaches out to the Vietnamese community–attended the Tết Festival in Garden Grove, CA from February 4-6; Tết is the Vietnamese Lunar New Year.  You can see pictures of FCEC’s display at BPSOS’ booth in the photos below.

Looking for educational materials from FCEC that are in languages other than English?  Visit our Educational Materials Library or email us at

The work and success of FCEC is made possible by the hard work of our great partners.

Why? Because they know their communities better than we do and can help to make our outreach most effective. BPSOS (formerly Boast People SOS), a community based organization serving the Vietnamese community, is just that kind of organization.

Founded in 1980, BPSOS initially formed as voluntary rescue-at-sea missions, saving over 3,000 people from rough waters as they attempted to boat across the Pacific Ocean from Vietnam to the United States. BPSOS’s mission has since evolved to adapt to changing needs of the community. One area it has been instrumental in is educating the Vietnamese American community about the risks of consuming contaminated fish in Southern California. But its work reaches far beyond California.

“Our mission is quite similar to that of FCEC in that we are both seeking to serve an underserved community,” says Tiffany Nguyen of BPSOS. “Certainly educating the local Vietnamese population about fish contamination is an important and life-changing endeavor. Whether it be our economic or social programs like the work we do with FCEC, individual and cultural enrichment is central to our goals.”

In fact, BPSOS claims to have touched the lives of one in every 10 Vietnamese Americans, or 10,000 Vietnamese in the United States annually since its inception. What began as a one staff operation has blossomed into a nationwide network of 18 offices with four locations in Southeast Asia and Taiwan, with more than 140 staffers.

Today, BPSOS spearheads local services for Vietnamese communities that include computer and vocational training, English as a Second Language courses, citizen preparation classes and self-help groups. BPSOS has also played a key role in chronicling an oral history of Vietnamese torture victims.

Together FCEC and BPSOS have coordinated numerous outreach efforts in predominately Vietnamese communities around Southern California, from staffing local events to hosting health fairs. BPSOS’s insight and cultural understanding has been crucial in tailoring FCEC’s environmental message to the Vietnamese American population around which fish to avoid, such as the white croaker.

We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with BPSOS, as the very success of our work depends on it.

Recently, BPSOS, a partner of FCEC, attended the 6th Annual Southeast Asian at the Aquarium of the Pacific, held on Saturday, October 9. BPSOS is a Vietnamese organization that works to empower the community and is committed to distributing FCEC educational materials at events they attend.

The festival highlighted the beauty and diversity of Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Burmese, Laotian, and Indonesian cultures.

There was live music, dance performances, food, crafts and of course educational booths where our partner, BPSOS, handed out FCEC information. BPSOS reached out to dozens of local residents about fish contamination and had a wonderful time. Enjoy the photos!

Were you at the event?

If so, what did you think of the event? Did you come across any FCEC materials while you were there?