UC Davis News Service
(For immediate release)

Pier Cleanups In Goleta, Manhattan Beach Next Week
April 12, 2007

Seeing gulls or pelicans with fishing hooks in their mouths or fishing line wrapped around their legs is an all too common sight on California beaches. Thanks to a new UC Davis project, these types of injuries soon should be reduced.

Last month, the California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project began a yearlong effort to remove discarded fishing hooks and line from pier pilings, and establish fishing-line recycling stations on the piers, in an effort to make the coastal ocean safer for wildlife as well as people.

The project arrives next week at Goleta, Santa Monica, Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach piers. 

"Fishing-line-related injuries are a problem for many of our coastal wildlife species," said Kirsten Gilardi, executive director of the SeaDoc Society, a program of the UC Davis Wildlife Health Center. "Our goal is to remove as much of it as we can from around fishing piers, and then make it easy for anglers to dispose of their used hooks and line properly in the future."

From Santa Cruz to the Mexican border, trained volunteer scuba divers will use knives and shears to remove accumulated fishing line from the pilings at 16 public-access fishing piers. Working in close cooperation with the cities and ports that manage the piers and with local nonprofit organizations, SeaDoc will install custom bins at each pier to encourage anglers to discard their unwanted hooks and line in the bin instead of into the water. Collected monofilament will be recycled.

The partner in the Goleta cleanup is Santa Barbara Channnelkeeper. The partner in the Manhattan Beach cleanup is International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro.

The $200,000 California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project is funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Marine Debris Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The project was established with grants from those organizations and by the California Ocean Protection Council and State Coastal Conservancy.

This project was previously called the California Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Project.

Cleanups will take place through June 2007 on piers in these locations: Goleta, Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, San Clemente, Oceanside, Ocean Beach in San Diego and Imperial Beach. (Last month, cleanups were done at Santa Cruz, Monterey and Avila piers.)

Editor's note: Two media events are next week, in Goleta and Manhattan Beach. Future events will be scheduled as weather and ocean conditions permit; notice will be sent to local media a few days before each event. At events, media can interview project director Kirsten Gilardi and see volunteer divers at work removing fishing gear from the piers. Fishing gear already collected will be on display, as well as fishing-line recycling bins. (While telephone and e-mail interviews with Gilardi can be done at any time, the only availability on piers will be these media events.)

Media events are planned for: 

Goleta Pier, 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 17 
Manhattan Beach Pier, 10 a.m., Saturday, April 21 
Cabrillo Pier in San Pedro 
Newport Beach Pier 
Oceanside Pier
Additional information:
California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project 
UC Davis SeaDoc Society 
UC Davis Wildlife Health Center 
California Coastal Conservancy 
Ocean Protection Council 
Media contact(s):
Kirsten Gilardi, Wildlife Health Center, (530) 752-4896, kvgilardi@ucdavis.edu 
Jessica Altstatt, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, (805) 563-3377 
International Bird Rescue Research Center, (310) 514-2573 
Sylvia Wright, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-7704, swright@ucdavis.edu