California Department of Public Health logo: three likenesses of people colored blue, green, and orange  
Sign-In  
Last Edited: 8/14/2001
`




PALOS VERDES SHELF OUTREACH AN EDUCATION PILOT PROJECT REPORT
December 15, 2000

Purpose of this Report

The following report provides background information on the Palos Verdes Shelf fish contamination issue, and describes and evaluates the accomplishments of the Palos Verdes Shelf Education Project.

Background

The Montrose Chemical Corporation manufactured DDT at its facility in Los Angeles. From about 1947 to 1982, Montrose released liquid wastes containing DDT directly to the sewer which discharged to the Pacific Ocean at White’s Point off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. PCBs from several industrial sources were also discharged into the sewer system. Surface runoff from the site also deposited into the Los Angeles Harbor. These releases of DDT and PCBs have caused and continue to cause contamination of marine life including fish caught by recreational and commercial fishers.

In 1985, due to the DDT and PCB contamination, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued interim guidelines on consumption of sport fish in the Santa Monica Bay and Palos Verdes Peninsula area. These guidelines included a recommendation that anglers avoid eating white croaker. After extensive sampling of many fish species, OEHHA issued a health advisory in 1991 that included white croaker and other species of fish.

In 1996 Heal the Bay, a non-profit environmental organization based in Santa Monica, purchased white croaker from markets in Asian communities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Heal the Bay found elevated levels of DDT and PCBs in these samples. In their summary report called "Let the Buyer Beware," Heal the Bay recommended that a risk communication program on the risks of white croaker consumption be developed for Asian communities in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

In October 1997, Heal the Bay contracted the California Department of Health Services, Environmental Health Investigations Branch (CDHS-EHIB) to research and develop an outreach and risk communication plan on fish contamination issues for the Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, and Pilipino communities in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. CDHS-EHIB developed an outreach plan addressing the needs of doing outreach around the issue of contaminated store-bought white croaker only.

In March 1998 the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) established a 10 fish daily bag and possession limit for the sport take of white croaker. The bag limit was established because the CDFG had documented a problem with the commercial sale of sport-caught white croaker in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Before the bag limit, sport anglers could take as many white croaker as they wished. Some of these sport anglers sold their catch, which is a violation of the law. CDFG also found that much of the white croaker being sold illegally was taken from waters where the health advisory recommends no consumption of white croaker.

II. Fish Contamination Outreach Plan for Heal the Bay

In developing the plan for Heal the Bay, CDHS-EHIB interviewed representatives from over 20 agencies and organizations in Los Angeles and Orange Counties to learn the best methods for reaching Asian communities that purchase fish from stores as well as engage in sport fishing. From these interviews, CDHS-EHIB learned that community based organizations and local health agencies would need informational materials, training, and stipends to effectively educate their communities. CDHS-EHIB also learned that there was a general lack of understanding about environmental health issues, especially concerning fish contamination issues within health agencies and the communities they serve. In addition, there is little collaboration and coordination between agencies serving different Asian groups.

The outreach plan, which contained nine components for implementation, focused on forming a multicultural, multi-agency advisory group, developing culture-specific informational materials, and partnering with community based organizations to directly educate Asian communities. In addition, CDHS-EHIB recommended that educational workshops be held for both leaders of community based organizations (CBOs) and public health staff who have direct contact with fishing populations. The nine components were as follows:

  1. Create a focused health message
  2. Form an advisory group
  3. Direct outreach component
  4. Mass media component
  5. Develop educational materials
  6. Hold educational workshops
  7. Hire staff from the community
  8. Provide outreach to smaller Asian communities
  9. Incorporate Asian communities into Heal the Bay’ standard programs.

Although Heal the Bay was ultimately not able to implement the plan due to lack of funding, the process of writing the plan enabled CDHS-EHIB to make many contacts and gain important information about doing culture-specific outreach in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

III. Sport Fish Contamination Issues

In addition to concerns about commercial white croaker, CDHS-EHIB is aware of a host of educational and outreach needs around the current sport fish health advisory for the Palos Verdes Shelf area. Fishing piers in Los Angeles County are currently displaying a variety of health advisory messages based on the 1991 OEHHA advisory though many areas have no signs at all. All sport fish health advisories are listed in the CDFG’s publication, California Sport Fishing Regulations, which is available where fishing licenses are sold. However, these booklets are available in English only and no fishing license is required to fish at any public piers that extend into the state’s coastal and bay waters.

The health advisory on white croaker consumption varies for different areas. For example, for Point Vicente, White’s Point and the Los Angeles Harbor, the advisory recommends no consumption of white croaker. In other areas such as outside the Los Angeles/Long Beach breakwater, the advisory recommends that white croaker consumption be limited to one meal per month. There are varying fish consumption limits for many other species such as surfperches, corbina, and queenfish in other areas such as the Belmont and Redondo Piers. These varying messages are confusing to anglers to the point where advisories may be ignored.

In 1991 the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project sponsored a survey of anglers’ fish consumption practices. Although this study did show that the majority of anglers interviewed were aware of health warnings (77%), certain ethnic groups such as Hispanics, Koreans, and Vietnamese (59%, 54%, and 52% respectively) were significantly less aware than Caucasians (88%). Also, the study showed that certain ethnic groups may be disproportionately affected by fish contamination problems. For example, although Hispanic anglers comprised only 25% of the population interviewed, Hispanics comprised 57% of the population that consumed white croaker.

White croaker was sampled again in 1990 by the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project. OEHHA is currently reviewing these data and the consumption study results to support revisions to the health advisory. However, CDHS-EHIB expect the information/wording of the health advisory for the Palos Verdes area to essentially remain the same. The need to inform sport anglers about fish contamination issues presently exists. It is also critical to conduct outreach and education to Latino communities as well as Asian communities. In addition, Los Angeles County Sanitation District has been collecting fish data, which can be used to revise the fish advisory. Levels continue to be very high for bottom feeding fish and have gone down for other fish. This is an important point in educating people about the risks of different types of fish.

IV. CDHS-EHIB’s Framework for Addressing Outreach and Education Issues

USEPA asked CDHS-EHIB to develop a pilot project to address outreach and educational issues regarding both commercial and sport fish. The following activities were proposed and successfully completed over an eighteen month period (see appendix):

First period: July-December 1999

Needs assessment -Task 1
Multi-agency fish issues forum-Task 2
Convene interagency workgroup -Task 3
Hire local LA staff

Second Period: January-July 2000

Develop outreach and education plan-Task 4
Develop educational materials
Training for the CBOs

Third Period: August-December 2000

Train the trainers workshop-Task 5
Evaluation of program
Closing report on activities-Task 6

Project Details

Task 1.Identification of Involved Parties/Needs Assessment

Based on the fish contamination outreach plan that CDHS had written for Heal the Bay in 1997, CDHS-EHIB identified and met with staff from over 30 agencies and community based organizations (CBOs) involved in the public health sector in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. The groups interviewed served Korean, Latino, Chinese, Vietnamese, Pacific Islander, Cambodian, and Pilipino communities. During this process, CDHS-EHIB assessed organizational interest in the fish contamination issue and ability and willingness to participate in a one-year pilot health education project.

Task 2. Provide a Planning and Information Sharing Forum for Agencies Working on Commercial and Sport Fishing Issues in the Palos Verdes Shelf Area.

On October 5, 2000, CDHS-EHIB and the USEPA cosponsored the "Forum for Communicating Fish Issues to Diverse Communities" (See appendix) with the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project and the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment. During the first half of the Forum, representatives from a variety of agencies discussed fish contamination activities currently underway as well as identified challenges that need to be address in the future. Topics such as a review of studies, educational efforts, community need, fish consumption information and agency mandates and resources were discussed. In addition, the Forum provided a good opportunity for CDHS-EHIB to recruit CBOs for participation in the Task Force.

Dr. Barbara Knuth, Professor of Communication at Cornell University, presented her findings regarding communication of fish contamination issues. In her presentation entitled "Effective Risk Communication" Dr. Knuth reported that the level of fishing and fish eating experience as well as socio-demographics, beliefs, and attitudes affect fisher’s advisory awareness. For these reasons the credibility of the source and accessibility of the message are critical. Her suggestions for the development of communication programs included: developing risk-benefit information, targeting women of childbearing age, children, local populations, and ethnic-specific audiences. She stresses that personal outreach is key.

During the forum, the USEPA, the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, the California Department of Fish and Game, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the California Food and Drug Branch clarified their mandates and defined the fish contamination problem from their agency perspective.

A panel of CBOs that included the Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, The Multicultural Area Health Education Center, Families in Good Health, and Heal the Bay, provided the community perspective on fish contamination. Speakers gave examples of how contamination in the Palos Verdes Shelf affects subsistence fishers and consumer confidence of fish purchased in local markets. The CBOs pledged their support and participation in the project.

Comments from the audience helped further frame the issue. An owner of a sport fishing operation in LA County stated that contamination in the Palos Verdes Shelf has scared many of his clients away and has impacted the fishing economy. A commercial fisherman recounted how a lack of media and community understanding about areas containing contaminated white croaker caused him to lose his fishing business.

Discussion Groups

During the second half of the workshop, participants divided into two discussion groups, one for sport and one for commercial fish, to develop action plans for issues identified in the earlier part of the day. The information gathered at each session was used as the basis for actions taken by task force.

The commercial fish discussion group suggested the identification of "green areas" where clean fish can be caught. This would require developing criteria for certification and improved sampling. The strict enforcement and tracking of the source of fish, despite poor record keeping at local markets, were also suggested.

Participants commented that commercial fishers who sell directly to the public often fall through existing systems for ensuring safe fish. The FDA’s Hazard Assessment Critical Control Point (HACCP) program only addresses commercial fish that goes through a wholesaler or a distributor. It was suggested that DHS request the testing of this fish.

The Department of Fish and Game believes that the bag limit on white croaker, which limits sport fish to 10 per person per day, has been successful in limiting the commercial sale of sport-caught white croaker. It was suggested that education efforts be targeted to markets that buy from boats and that education also be provided to wholesalers about the croaker. Participants indicated that the public should have information about the origin of the croaker they purchase from markets and on species that are safe to eat.

Workshop participants suggested that any communication campaign communicate risk reduction behaviors for store bought fish as well as sport fish. Messages that go out to the public should provide cooking and preparation instructions to markets and CBOs and should include FDA recommendations regarding limiting the intake of shark and swordfish for pregnant women.

The sport fish workgroup stated that the messages should be positive and succinct. They should encourage people to eat fish and include information about affected species, source of contamination, and possible health effects. There was also a suggestion from the USFDA to combine croaker messages with other pressing fish issues such as bacterial and viral contamination.

There was agreement among participants about the importance of a media campaign to disseminate information within various communities. It was suggested that CBO’s work directly and collaboratively with media to utilize ethnic-specific radio, TV, and print media in spreading the message.

The need to hire a local community coordinator for the purpose of building local capacity emerged as a suggestion.

Forum Evaluation

The forum was successful in that action items were generated during discussion periods, a plan, with measurable objectives, was developed, and individuals were identified for participation in an interagency workgroup.

The Community Coordinator

In late December 1999, CDHS-EHIB hired a half-time community coordinator, located in southern California, for a nine-month period. The main responsibilities of the coordinator included meeting with the CBOs on a regular basis to assist with the implementation of their health education projects, assisting CDHS-EHIB in the recruitment of CBOs for participation in the Health Education Workshop, and assisting the Task Force in the distribution of materials throughout Orange and LA Counties. During this time, the Coordinator attended seven Task Force meetings and met with the CBOs on six occasions. The coordinator also distributed materials at the Pilipino Cultural Fair, to Cal Optima and to Talbert Medical Center sites in Long Beach. The Coordinator conducted outreach within the Native American, Asian, African American, and Armenian communities for participation in the train the trainers workshop.

Task 3.Creation and Maintenance of an Interagency Task Force

CDHS-EHIB convened a twenty-two person Task Force for the purpose of collaboratively creating culturally appropriate materials. The group worked together over a one-year period to develop health education materials that could be implemented in a variety of communities. Agency representatives from CDHS-EHIB, CDHS Food and Drug Branch, USFDA, USEPA, the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the CA Department of Fish and Game, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, and the Los Angeles County Health Department participated in the Task Force. CBO representatives included Families in Good Health, The Multicultural Area Health Education Center, The Search to Involve Pilipino Americans, The Korean Resource Center, and Heal the Bay. In addition, representatives from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium and Del Rey Sport Fishing participated in the process.

CBOs signed a memorandum of understanding with CDHS-EHIB to clarify roles and responsibilities. As part of the agreement, CBOs were asked to: 1) attend the forum entitled "Communicating Fish Issues to Diverse Communities," 2) delegate a representative to participate in monthly Task Force meetings, 3) provide culture-specific expertise, 4) develop and implement one health educational effort by the end of the project, 5) act as a liaison between the Task Force and other community groups serving similar populations, 6) distribute materials to other organizations, inform them of Task Force progress and project events, and solicit their participation in the train the trainers workshop to be held in September 2000, 7) attend a train the trainers workshop for participating CBOs and other organizations and agencies that are interested in learning more about the topic, 8) translate materials when necessary, and 9) evaluate their efforts by the end of the year 2000.

As part of the agreement, CDHS-EHIB provided the following:

1) CDHS conducted initial outreach and held a "Forum on Communicating Fish Issues to Diverse Communities", 2) provided a half time Project Coordinator, 3) provided a half time, local, Community Coordinator, 4) convened a Task Force of agencies and CBOs, 5) coordinated the development and production of educational materials, 6) assisted CBOs in developing, implementing and evaluating their health educational efforts, 7) provided stipends of $3000 to participating CBOs, 8) assisted CBOs in finding other possible funding sources for their health educational efforts around fish contamination, 9) held a health education workshop to train CBOs and agency staff on risk communication and use of materials developed.

Evaluation of the Task Force

CDHS-EHIB used a questionnaire (see appendix) to evaluate Task Force processes and outcomes. In evaluating the Task Force member’s satisfaction with process, members strongly agreed that the goals of the project were made clear, that the group was successful in accomplishing all goals, and that the process was participatory. The participants also agreed that CDHS-EHIB staff had been readily available to act as resources.

In general, Task Force members felt that the project could have been improved by providing larger stipends and increased funding for implementation of the risk communication plan. All members agreed that with increased funding, additional CBOs could have been able to participate. One CBO commented that greater assistance from agencies was needed for the CBOs to effectively complete their work.

Overall, members were very happy with the materials produced during the project. MAHEC representatives stated that had they had additional funding to create their own educational materials in Spanish, their materials would have looked very different from the ones created by the task force as a whole. For materials to be culturally appropriate within Latino communities, recreational or sport fishing would have to be represented as "a way of life," or as subsistence fishing.

Members listed the most productive aspects of the Task Force as:

  1. The diverse mix of participants and the high level of commitment and enthusiasm of participants
  2. Open dialogue and communication
  3. The cooperative manner in which agencies and CBOs worked together towards a common goal.
  4. Adequate number of meetings
  5. Good leadership and facilitation

Members listed areas of improvement as:

  1. The need for additional funding to expand risk communication efforts
  2. The need for CBOs representing other affected communities to join the process
  3. The need for a continuation of what we have begun
  4. The need for work groups within the larger task force to take on portions of the project
  5. More time
  6. Additional facts and concrete data
  7. Improved coordination with EPA, CDHS, and OEHHA in project development

Task 4. Materials and Outreach and Education Plan Development

CDHS-EHIB coordinated the Task Force’s process of designing and creating materials and developing a framework for conducting outreach and education within affected communities.

The Task Force worked together to develop a general message for health education materials. Because the site and species-specific sport fish advisory that appears in the CDFG regulations booklet was considered confusing, the materials focused on a more generalized message and on preparation and cooking methods for making fish safer to eat.The Task Force members developed the following message:

Protect your health. Fish is a healthy part of a good diet, but some fish caught from Piers around Point Vicente, White’s Point, and Cabrillo Pier contain chemicals that may be harmful to your health or the health of your family. Do not eat white croaker. Of the fish caught in this area, white croaker (King fish, Tomcod) contains the highest levels of chemicals and is the most harmful to your health. Limit the other fish you catch and eat from this area to less than two meals a week and follow the safety tips below.

Reducing your exposure to chemicals in other fish: Most fish contain some chemicals. You can reduce your exposure to chemicals by following these suggestions: 1) Fish in a variety of places, 2) Eat different kinds of fish. Some fish have higher levels of chemicals than others, 3) When preparing fish, remove all fatty parts like the skin, guts, and belly flap. The fillet contains lower levels of chemicals. Bake, broil, or grill fish, letting the fatty juices drip away. For more information, call the LA County Department of Health Services at 213-240-7785.

Some general health messages that touched upon the safety of commercial fish were included in the materials. Further investigation of contamination in white croaker is needed before a specific educational message about commercial white croaker can be developed and implemented. The group agreed that USFDA information pertaining to mercury that limits consumption of shark and swordfish for pregnant women should be included. They also agreed that the inclusion of information on bacterial and viral fish contamination was important.

CDHS-EHIB developed the appropriate focus group questions to assist the CBOs in the process. Two CBOs field-tested materials for cultural appropriateness, literacy level, and message clarity. Focus group findings were incorporated in the materials development process.

A total of 14,000 posters and 14,000 postcards, translated into seven languages (2000 per language) were created and distributed. Translations were completed by Transcend, Berkeley Scientific Translations, and the Pacific Asian Languages Services Group. The materials contained identical information including the sport fish message, a picture of a white croaker, and a map of the area with the highest levels of chemicals. The poster and post cards were distributed to the Los Angeles County and the City of Long Beach Health Departments, The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, the Los Angeles County Life Guard Headquarters, over 30 CBOs, and Cal Optima. In addition, the post card was distributed at the Pilipino Arts Festival and the Watts Health Fair, both held in September 2000.

An eight-module curriculum, covering the history of the contamination in the Palos Verdes Shelf, chemical and bacterial fish contamination, safe purchasing, preparation, and cooking methods, as well as information and referral, was created. The curriculum provides a flexible framework for presenting information in ways which are most culturally relevant to a variety of audiences. Each module provides the instructor with a baseline of information in an order in which the information should be discussed for better comprehension. The curriculum includes color overhead transparencies for instructors, reference materials such as USFDA pamphlets on bacterial and viral fish contamination, and a CDFG fishing regulations booklet.

CDHS-EHIB field-tested the curriculum with the CBOs on the Task Force as well as with public health nurses. Findings from the field tests were incorporated into the final curriculum. The curriculum was used as the basis for training representatives from local health departments and CBOs to conduct their own workshops in their communities.

CBO Health Education Efforts

When the Fish Contamination Education Pilot Project began, the CBOs had the opportunity to apply for additional funding through the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project’s PIE (Partners in Education) grant program. With CDHS encouragement and assistance, two of the CBOs that participated in the Task Force, Families in Good Health and the Korean Resource Center, applied for grants and were awarded $15,000 each to complete the project of their choice. The PIE grant stipulated that the CBOs complete their projects by December 2000. Although the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project oversaw the grant process, the Task Force provided technical assistance and project guidance.

Families in Good Health created a one-half hour fish contamination video that was shown on local cable television. Five hundred copies of the video were produced and are currently being shown and distributed, along with the posters, in local markets in Long Beach. Families in Good Health also produced a flyer in Cambodian that is being distributed at health fairs and to pier fishers. In addition, they are using the curriculum to conduct health education within the Cambodian community.

The Korean Resource Center used their grant to create a fish contamination flyer in Korean that is being distributed to anglers and market owners. They have produced public service announcements for local Korean radio. They intend to approach several market owners about the fish contamination issue. They also intend to create a web site dedicated to fish contamination information.

The Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is currently developing a comic book about fish contamination in the Palos Verdes Shelf. The comic book is to be distributed to all elementary school students in Los Angeles County. With training received during the Training of the Trainers Workshop, the aquarium is conducting health education workshops with students in their on-site classroom. They also plan to train educators of their "Sea Rangers" program. Rangers will be equipped to distribute fish contamination post cards and other information to fishers on a regular basis.

The Multicultural Area Health Education Center used their $3000 stipend to train their staff to better address community questions. They distributed the flyers and poster to other agencies serving Latino communities. The stipend was also used for staff to attend Task Force meetings.

The Search to Involve Pilipino Americans used their $3000 stipend to create a fish contamination information booth at the Pilipino Arts and Cultural Fair in September 2000 and for staff time to attend Task Force meetings.

The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Project produced an educational presentation for the CFDB to use as a training module for local sea food inspectors. The training outlines the fish contamination issue and discusses how to identify white croaker. This training will be implemented by CFDB in phase two of the project.

Task 5. Provide a "Train the Trainers" Workshop

For the purposes of educating those who will be disseminating fish contamination information and to introduce new educational materials, CDHS-EHIB held a training workshop for CBO leaders, public health workers, and agency representatives, on September 22, 2000. Topics featured in the training were decided upon with input from the Task Force. The curriculum was the primary educational tool for the training. Other topics included an overview of agency mandates, an overview of the Task Force process, basic information about exposure pathways, basic information on chemicals found in fish, and an introduction to educational materials.

Evaluation of the Train the Trainer Workshop:

Participants responded to a questionnaire that evaluated both the methods used to present the information and the change in their knowledge base. The following summarizes the questionnaire results:

All participants, with the exception of one person, agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that the use of the small and large group discussion format enabled participants to get a good understanding of the information.

All participants agreed or strongly agreed that they would use the information to conduct some form of health education in their work/community.

All strongly agreed that they would like more specific data and information on fish contamination. One person commented that they would like to see more specific information on the effects of chemicals on the body.

CDHS-EHIB received a wide range of opinions about the technical nature of the information, from too technical to appropriate.

All participants agreed or strongly agreed that, after attending this workshop, they felt comfortable answering community questions about fish contamination in their work or community.

All participants agreed or strongly agreed that the materials were informative, well written, and useful.

Conclusions

During the final Task Force meeting on December 12, 2000, CBOs and agencies pledged their support and continued participation to the project. Members stated the need to combine sport fish education efforts with commercial fish education efforts. CBOs have stated that they will need increased funding and resources to successfully conduct health education with markets and restaurants as well as with anglers. CDHS has asked Task Force members to submit their outreach and education needs for phase two. CDHS will develop and submit to the USEPA the plan for conducting the educational component of institutional controls.

IV.Possible Future Activities

Numerous issues remain about the safety of white croaker sold in Los Angeles and Orange County markets. Although the Heal the Bay study showed elevated levels of DDT and PCBs, CDFG’s recent implementation of a white croaker bag limit may have reduced the amount of contaminated white croaker reaching local markets.

No effort was made to trace the origin of the contaminated fish sampled by Heal the Bay. However, because there are no other known areas where DDT has contaminated white croaker at the levels found around the Palos Verdes shelf it is likely that the white croaker sampled in the Heal the Bay study were contaminated from the Montrose site.

Contaminated fish from the Palos Verdes area could have reached the market in a number of ways. First, the fish could have been taken illegally from the area around the Palos Verdes peninsula that is closed to commercial fishing because commercial fishermen may not be heeding the law. CDFG has noted that even this year there has been some discrepancy about the boundaries of the closed areas.

Second, fish could have been taken legally under a sport fishing license and then illegally sold as commercial fish. The sport fish health advisories issued by OEHHA providerecommendationson consumption of contaminated species; these advisoriesdo not prohibitthe catch or consumption of sport fish. Until the recent bad limit on white croaker, there were no laws or regulations limiting or prohibiting sport anglers from catching and consuming contaminated fish. CDFG has documented sport anglers catching large quantities (hundreds of pounds) of white croaker in the Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor and then illegally selling these fish commercially, but this activity may have been curtailed by the bag limit.

Third, contaminated white croaker may be caught commercially under perfectly legal circumstances. Commercial fishermen are not prohibited from fishing in some areas that are or could be contaminated. For example, OEHHA’s sport fish advisory recommends no consumption of white croaker from Cabrillo pier, which is located on the west end of the Los Angeles Harbor. Commercial fishermen are not prohibited from fishing in the Harbor. CDFG has noted that when the ocean is rough, commercial fishermen will take white croaker in the Harbor. There are also some areas that are open to commercial fishermen that have not been sampled or there is little or no data to confirm that commercial fishermen take white croaker from these areas. For example, the area to the west of Point Fermin is outside the area closed to commercial fishing but is less than 2 miles from the White’s Point outfall.

We have outlined some options for addressing commercial white croaker below.

  1. Retest White Croaker from Markets (in collaboration with CDHS/Food and Drug Branch, OEHHA, and U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
  • Retest of white croaker obtained from retail markets
  • Review of the availability of white croaker in Los Angeles and Orange County markets
  • Trace records showing the source of the white croaker sold in stores
  1. Reexamination of the Area Closed to Commercial White Croaker Fishing

    Sample white croaker from areas where (1) white croaker is taken commercially and (2) DDT may be elevated but are outside the closed area, e.g., LA/LB harbor.

  2. Development of Regulatory Limits for Commercial Fish (with OEHHA and CDHS/Food and Drug Branch)

Develop health protective regulatory levels that would be used to:

  • Remove fish from sale
  • Identify commercial fishing areas that should be closed
  1. CDFG Enforcement Review

Compile information from CDFG wardens on white croaker activity

  1. Develop an Education and Outreach Program based on the Result of Options 1-4 Above

The activities described in this section focus on commercial white croaker. However, the public has also raised concerns about the safety of other commercially available species of fish and these concerns may need to be addressed as well.

Gina Margillo, Community Education and Participation Coordinator
(510) 622-4476