Posts Tagged ‘Partners’

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!

Fishing is a great sport and provides us all with an enjoyable, active and healthy hobby. FCEC is here not only to promote fishing and the consumption of safe fish to eat, but to also protect the public’s health by reducing the risk of consuming local contaminated fish. Last year, was the first year we partnered with Marina del Rey Anglers to start building awareness of local contaminated fish and promote healthy fishing practices. In the past year, Marina del Rey Anglers, FCEC and Los Anglers joined forces again to reach out to the sport angling community by promoting healthy and safe fishing habits and even added a fun raffle to go along with the outreach!

Marina del Rey Anglers collected 500 commitment letters from anglers pledging to fish responsibly, respect our marine environment and fisheries, release local contaminated fish and keep and consume only safe fish to eat.  Additionally, Marina del Rey Anglers collected over 300 surveys at a number of fishing related events. To sweeten the deal, MDRA secured a brand new Avet Reel to raffle off to local sport anglers who participated in the survey. Way to go MDRA!

Congratulations to Brian S. from Simi Valley who won the reel! We hope to see you using your new reel in fishing photos at www.LosAnglers.org.

Did you know you can post your fishing photos on www.LosAnglers.org too? Show off your latest catches using your fishing gear!

FCEC has been working hard to increase public outreach and education for anglers who are vulnerable to consuming contaminated fish species from the Palos Verdes Shelf Superfund Site: white croaker, black croaker, topsmelt, barred sand bass and barracuda. FCEC coordinated a recent training session with our outreach partners, the Marina Del Rey Anglers. Over the course of the meeting, members of the Marina Del Rey Anglers learned how to conduct a 2-minute survey to anglers who have and have-not received outreach from FCEC. The purpose of these short surveys is to provide FCEC support in better measuring the effectiveness of outreach on awareness of Do Not Consume (DNC) fish and intentions with DNC fish. Additionally, anglers who had received outreach in the past were asked to sign a commitment letter to only eat healthy fish.

 

Check out some of the photos from the meeting here:

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.

In mid-September FCEC stakeholders, representatives and partners gathered at the City of Long Beach Family Health and Education Center for the annual Strategic Planning Meeting.

Take a look inside the Strategic Planning Meeting and see the FCEC Team at work!

Judy Huang, EPA Project Manager, and Robert Lindfors of ITSI kicked off the meeting with an update on the monitoring and capping efforts off the PV Shelf. In the presentation they highlighted that traces of chemicals are reducing in the sediment, but not in the fish. There is no explanation for this quite yet, but they are keeping a close eye on it.

Next, a presentation on the Seafood Consumption Study was given. A significant finding has been that compared to the same study conducted in 1994, for every 3 anglers seen in 1994 only 1 angler is still fishing.  Information on Pier Outreach efforts was then presented, and it was noted that over 8,800 anglers were reached during July 2011 – June 2012. It was found that compared to anglers who haven’t received outreach, a greater proportion of those who did receive outreach reported awareness of the local fish contamination.

The last presentation was given by Gabrielle Dorr from the Montrose Settlements Restoration Program, where she discussed their priorities for the restoration projects on fishing and habitat, bald eagles, falcons and seabirds. In addition, she reviewed the goals of the fishing restoration project, which is to provide public information to restore lost fishing services and construct artificial reefs and fishing access improvements.

This past year, FCEC partnered with Marina Del Rey Anglers to increase our sport angler outreach efforts. Check out this video as Marina Del Rey Anglers outreach comes to life and see the local sport angling community raise awareness of the risks associated with eating local contaminated fish and implement best fishing practices, such as catch and release, how to fillet a fish and pledging to fish responsibly.

Happy Fishing!

 

For FCEC’s Partners Meeting on January 24, we acknowledged some changes in our team: the departure of Howard Wang, who has been with the project since 2008, Mark Gold moving from Heal the Bay to join UCLA’s sustainability team, and of course, saying goodbye to our outgoing Project Manager, Carmen White, and welcoming Judy Huang in her place.

In her parting words, Carmen acknowledged FCEC as a cutting edge program and noted that the important connections created between community members, local, state and federal agencies has made this program what it is today.

After Judy was announced as the new project manager, each of the Partners took a moment to introduce themselves and their roles in FCEC. Following these announcements and introductions, the Partners presented updates on several programs and discussed two great successes of recent projects: the Pier Sign Evaluation and updated Tip Card. We are happy to report that the pier signs are working, and anglers are taking away the key messages of the pier signs.

Coupled with the updated Tip Card, that now provides a link directing people to safe fish to eat in other areas, FCEC’s efforts are starting to see strong signs of influence in anglers making safe and informed choices of the fish they catch and eat.

And speaking of eats, check out our Partner’s Meeting slideshow below to see how our meeting was an event that called for cake!

 

 

In smaller markets across Southern California, confusion and trickery can sometimes result in the sale of contaminated white croaker to both merchants and consumers. Looking out for the community means not only going where we catch our fish, but also where we buy them. To prevent the sale of contaminated white croaker in local markets, the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) and local health inspectors visit hundreds of local vendors every year to inspect their products and ensure that the fish sold there are purchased from approved sources, such as licensed fish wholesalers, distributors or commercial fishermen. Since 2008, our FCEC Enforcement Program has not found contaminated white croaker sold in markets.

The LA County Public Health Department inspects 30 markets twice a year, Orange County 12 markets monthly, and Long Beach inspects 15 markets, 3 restaurants and 1 wholesaler 4 times a year. In addition to inspections, CDFG representatives and health inspectors use our FCEC materials to educate sellers on the local fish contamination issues that affect them and their customers.

See our Enforcement Program team at work in the images below!

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!