Posts Tagged ‘community outreach’

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!

Due to the diverse nature of the angling community that is affected by the Palos Verdes Superfund Site contamination, it is an ongoing mission to keep local anglers safe from consuming the 5 local contaminated fish species. In order to increase anglers’ awareness of the Do Not Consume (DNC) fish, FCEC implemented a project that focuses on reaching out to local bait shops.

FCEC began conducting outreach to bait shops and retail stores in November 2013, and March 2014 marked the completion of the first round of visits. Stores FCEC targeted ranged from small local bait shops to large retail stores. So far, outreach is off to a great start. As of March 2014, FCEC has educated 102 employees at 81 angler retail and bait shops in 27 cities near the Red Zone. The majority of store owners and employees were supportive of the message and many pledged to keep the DNC fish information readily available to protect their customers’ health. By leveraging the help of local stores and their employees who are often viewed as experts to their angling customers, FCEC is able to relay the Do Not Consume advisory to the targeted angling audience.

During one of our outreach sessions we were pleased to learn that Eileen, an employee at a local bait shop in San Pedro, recognized our tip cards from a previous store that we visited and placed materials. This was great news, because it means our outreach efforts are working!

After placing FCEC Tip Cards in the bait shops, we followed up with the stores. This was when Eileen told us “the cards are all gone. The first time I saw the [FCEC Tip] cards was at another bait shop, and I thought it was a great idea. I think it’s important for people to stay aware of these issues – [especially since] my husband is a fisherman.”

When the FCEC outreach team visited the stores, a generous supply of FCEC Tip Cards were placed near the bait or fishing accessories areas where any angler getting ready to go fishing could take one or a few to pass on to other local anglers.

Following the completed first round of outreach, the FCEC outreach team will continue to conduct follow-ups with these stores throughout the year to ensure they have an adequate supply of FCEC materials for their angling customers.



What do you do when you have a big appetite for fish? Since nowadays most community members go fishing just for recreation, the market is typically the spot where folks go for their catch of the day. We developed a brochure in collaboration with our partners to widen outreach efforts to the local markets, since we did not have outreach materials tailored specifically for markets and restaurants. Designed to be a brochure and a poster, the main goal of developing the piece was to demonstrate the local fish contamination information in an easy and relatable way. In doing so, the brochure educates the market staff and many community members visiting these markets on a daily basis. The brochure includes information on health risks from eating white croaker which is one of the 5 local Do Not Consume fish, as well as provides clear instructions for market operators to buy only from approved sources and report illegal or suspicious vendors. Audiences have found the material to be easy to understand, engaging and simple. A local market employee was quoted saying the brochure was like “telling a story” as opposed to just plain information.

Currently, the brochure is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean. It is distributed by Orange County Health Care Agency, Long Beach Bureau of Environmental Health and California Department of Fish and Wildlife in their market outreach efforts.

Have you seen the FCEC fish market brochure? Click here to check out a digital copy!


FCEC has reached a lot of anglers over the years. What is “a lot” you ask? During 2009-2011 FCEC and our partners have reached out to over 15,400 anglers, conducting a total of 1,979 surveys during this stretch of time. As such, we’ve heard a lot of stories and learned a lot about the folks that frequently fish at our local piers. We appreciate these anglers and the knowledge and experiences they share with us.

Our outreach team has seen these anglers endure heavy winds to catch fish at Belmont pier in Long Beach, talk about cool shark sightings and locate schools of surfperch under the Santa Monica Pier. Frankie Orrala of Heal the Bay even shared his insights in a recent interview that we recommend you check out.

Besides catching fish at the local piers and sighting seals and sharks, anglers have also been interested in our  FCEC Angler Tip Cards, and not just because they have a nifty ruler to measure their fish with! Due to the efforts of the Angler Outreach Team, results have shown a reduced amount of reported Do Not Consume fish consumption and an increase of anglers aware of the contamination. Heal the Bay and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium Angler Outreach Team members have been doing fantastic work to protect public health and educate folks about local fish contamination, and we are proud of their efforts!

Check out some photos of the Angler Outreach Team in action over 2011. Happy New Year!



FCEC team members celebrated Earth Day at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium last Saturday.  They spoke with a lot of great people about fish contamination and the pollution off the Palos Verdes Shelf.  Even the children got involved by participating in a fishing game.

What we are most impressed with at  events like these is the number of organizations that are working toward a goal we share: protecting the public from the harmful effects of pollution and keeping our environment healthy.

Meet Brian from Santa Monica Baykeeper

Brian Meux visited our table at the event and shared with us his insights.  Santa Monica Baykeeper is a nonprofit organization that works to protect and restore the Santa Monica Bay, San Pedro Bay and adjacent waters.  As Marine Programs Manager, Brian is involved in outreach and advocacy for stronger prevention methods of and faster responses to oil spills.  He also works on advocating for sustainable fisheries, and monitoring and enforcing the new Marine Protected Areas.

Watch the video below to hear Brian talk about the far-reaching effects of the pollution off of our coasts.  He definitely makes a point in saying “it just goes to show, let’s not pollute in the first place.”


Having fun on Earth Day at Cabrillo Marine AquariumIt is still April, which means that FCEC’s celebration of our Earth is still going on strong.  We’ll be attending Cabrillo Marine Aquarium’s Earth Day Celebration this Saturday, April 23, from 10am to 4pm.

Event participants will be able to volunteer for a beach cleanup, listen to live music, watch movies and take part in hands-on exploration and education activities organized by various environmental organizations, including Heal the Bay, the Sierra Club and the Los Angeles Audubon Society.  Like we did at the Earth Day Celebration at the Aquarium of the Pacific, we will be passing out information about fish to avoid and ones that are safe to eat, hosting a fishing game for children and handing out free FCEC tote bags.

Earth Day is being observed by many people all over the US.  Join us in celebrating the Earth at the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium this Saturday!

Have you attended an Earth Day event yet? Let us know how it went by leaving us a comment.

Image via Cabrillo Marine Aquarium

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.

What a catch!Our FCEC team attended the Earth Day celebration at the Aquarium of the Pacific last weekend and the turnout was great.  We had the chance to talk with parents and fishermen about contamination off the coast of many local communities AND even got to play fishing games with the children!

Meet some of the people who stopped by and learn what they had to say about the fish contamination information they learned at the event.  Also, check out our Flickr slideshow at the end of this post for photos.

Alex Somoza

Alex is a parent living in Long Beach.  Most of what we talked to Alex about was news to him; he appreciated the information and found it important to know.  He thought that fish contamination off the Palos Verdes Shelf is a definite health problem for communities:

“Health concerns are an issue, especially if children are involved.  Any type of sickness or illness isn’t good for anyone.”

John Castro

John is a fisherman from Los Angeles; he fishes anywhere from two times a week to everyday.  So, when we told him about the fish consumption guidelines that exist for the area, he was glad to hear about them:

“My friend always wanted to get and eat barracuda.  Now I’m going to take this list of fish and show him that he should only eat it once a week.”

Stay informed like John and make sure that you check our latest fish advisory before making a decision on what to consume.


Do you think fish contamination is a problem? Which fish advisories do you find most useful? Or confusing? We want to hear from you!

Celebrating our EarthEarth Day is an annual celebration of the environment observed on April 22 in the U.S.  It was founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, a long-time conservationist from Wisconsin, in 1970.  He recognized that the nonviolent demonstrations against the Vietnam War on campuses across the nation could be used to call attention to the degradation of nature; in other words, Nelson wanted to stage a nationwide teach-in on the environment.  The first Earth Day gained popularity quickly.  An estimated 20 million people participated in peaceful demonstrations across the U.S and its success paved the way for environmental legislation: the Environmental Protection Agency—which is part of the FCEC partnership–was created and the Clean Air Act was passed that same year.  Today, the focus on our environment has grown and Americans are now celebrating the Earth during the whole month of April.

Image via Aquarium of the Pacific

FCEC joins in the celebration

As we did last year, the FCEC team will be joining the Aquarium of the Pacific for its Earth Day Celebration this weekend; 9am to 6pm on both Saturday and Sunday.

How do we fit in with the theme of Earth Day, you may ask?

We’re not just a collaborative that seeks to protect public health; we seek to protect public health because of damages done to the environment.  The fish that we tell people not to consume live in the largest DDT contamination site in the world–a site that was contaminated due to years of toxic outflows from a local manufacturing plant.

That is why we’re attending the Earth Day Celebration.  We’re celebrating the Earth, but also remembering what has been done to our environment in the past and ensuring we can prevent further deterioration for a healthier one in the future.

Join us at the event and stop by our table.  We’ll be passing out information about fish to avoid and ones that are safe to eat,  hosting a fishing game for children and handing out free FCEC tote bags.

Hope to see you there!

How will you be celebrating Earth Day?  Leave us a comment below.

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