Get To Know The Ocean – The Bluestreak Cleaner Wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus

Photo by Brian Gratwicke

I am the Cleaner Wrasse, also known as the Labroides dimidiatus, cleanser of other fish to help them with their health such as preventing diseases, parasites, and any other tissue infections. I am most frequently found in coral reefs and in cleaning stations such as in the gills of other fish. Since I am very beneficial to my habitat and have a mutual connection with other fish and with commonly known predators, I’m not seen as prey.

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Poacher Busted for Messing with California’s MPAs

Images by Hayley Miller

In a recent victory for San Diego County Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot struck a plea deal with poacher Jeff Anthony Zenin which landed him 3 years of probation, a $30,000 fine, the loss of all fishing gear used during his poaching acts and the forfeiture of his rights to obtain a fishing license in the state of California. Zenin, a resident of Arizona, was caught poaching abalone in the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve (SMR) in September and October of 2015. Due to the fact that Zenin was caught poaching inside an MPA he was penalized to a greater extent than the typical abalone poacher. Follow the link to read the full article in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

MPAs are established to protect the natural resources within by creating take restrictions. MPAs are often placed in areas of ecological significance that act as essential habitat for managed species. MPAs offer a conservation solution to the overharvest and incidental take of species that ensure a healthy functioning ecosystem.

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Creek to Bay Cleanup 2017!

This Earth Day (April 22nd) WILDCOAST, I Love a Clean San Diego, and the Resource Conservation District of San Diego County, will be hosting a Creek to Bay event at the Tijuana River Valley Community Gardens from 8am to 12pm. Activities of the day will include:

  • Irrigation and drip system installation and a seminar led by industry professionals
  • Fence installation and repair
  • Painting
  • Trash removal and clean up
  • Garden community Pot-Luck

WILDCOAST will be on-site with water and snacks for participants. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle and wear closed toed shoes for the days activities. WILDCOAST will also provide all of the necessary trash removal tools including gloves, buckets, shovels and pick-up sticks.

This is a great way for volunteer to make a direct positive impact on their local coastal and marine environments while supporting the sustainable theme of the day. Come out and join us for a day of environmental stewardship and help make out south San Diego community a better place.

To register click here, for more information on the event please contact Cory Pukini at cory@wildcoast.net

Ocean Day California 2017

Image Oceana Pacifica

On Tuesday, March 14th, WILDCOAST’s conservation team headed to California’s state capital for the 12th annual California Ocean Day 2017. This annual event allows coastal and marine conservation focused agencies the opportunity to connect with elected officials at the state level to advocate for healthy ecosystems and clean oceans. This important work comes just weeks after one of the largest sewage spill in recent history in the Tijuana River. This unprecedented spill of sewage just south of WILDCOAST’s offices in Imperial Beach has close beaches throughout south San Diego county and poses a major public health and safety risk. To highlight the importance of our oceans, WILDCOAST sat down for face-to-face conversations with some of California’s most influential legislators to discuss important upcoming legislation and inspire conservation of California’s iconic ocean and coastline.

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The State of the California South Coast State of the Region Report


The South Coast State of the Region report is a summary (2011-2015) that sheds light on the ecological and socioeconomic state of the South Coast region during the implementation phase of the South Coast Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This report takes into account the expansion of the statewide MPA establishment to San Diego county in 2012.

The South Coast State of the Region report discusses the baseline ecological monitoring that occurred in the first few years after MPA establishment and the importance of these finding. Varying projects and stakeholder groups came together to produce a comprehensive report that provides insight into the overall health of the region’s coastal and marine ecosystems and human use in these areas. It is important to establish accurate baselines for ecological and human use monitoring to create a basis of understanding for improved management of resources through informed decision making.

Some KEY HIGHLIGHTS from Baseline Monitoring:

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WILDCOAST Women in Conservation

Today we are celebrating and honoring International Women’s Day by recognizing the women at WILDCOAST behind the conservation of some of the most beautiful places in the world!

These women have fought large corporations and stopped big developments in the Cabo Pulmo Marine Reserve; they have collaborated with indigenous communities along the coast of Oaxaca to help protect endangered sea turtles; they have swam with Great White Sharks in order to bring awareness to their protection and importance.

Learn More About Them:

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FACTS about the “Largest Sewage Spill in a Decade”

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You probably already have seen it on the news, or on your Facebook/Twitter feed but here are some important facts you need to know about this MASSIVE SPILL!

Between February 6 and February 23, over 143 million gallons of raw sewage was sent into the Tijuana River, in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. This sewage reached the Pacific Ocean heavily polluting beaches from Rosarito, Baja California to Coronado, California and potentially further, impacting over 25 miles of coastline.

Here are some other facts and things you should be aware of:

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Oil Spill Response Plan for Wildlife in Oaxaca.

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The coast of Oaxaca in southern Mexico is incredibly unique with a diversity of wildlife including four of world’s seven sea turtle species which nest on its shores  (green, hawksbill, leatherback and olive ridley sea turtles).

Although the coastal ecosystems and habitats of Oaxaca are relatively intact, they face a number of threats. One of which comes from a major oil refinery in the port of Salina Cruz, where large volumes of petroleum are processed and shipped daily. In 2012, the refinery spilled hundreds of gallons of crude oil on neighboring sea turtle nesting beaches. The refinery processes 330,000 barrels per day and continues to be a latent risk to the flora and fauna of the region.  

In 2017, WILDCOAST, in coordination with the Mexican Turtle Center, organized our third “Immediate Response Plan for Oil Spills and Management of Affected Wildlife” workshop in Huatulco, in order to properly train sea turtle camp staff and groups dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles, on how to handle wildlife in case of an oil spill accident.

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Get to know your neighbor: Sea Urchin, Echinoidea

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I am a Sea Urchin and a part of a class of organisms called Echinoidea. There are 950 species of Echinoderms in all of the world’s ocean and found all over the world in warm and cold water, typically in rock pools, mud, coral reefs, kelp forests, and seagrass beds. I live in clumps of 5-10 and my lifespan often exceeds 30 years, however scientists have found some specimens to live over 200 years making me one of the longest living animals on earth. I am round and spiny ranging from 3-10 cm. I can be various colors including black, dull shades of green, olive, brown, purple, blue and red. Since I am nocturnal, I usually hide during the day and become more active and feed at night. I prefer to eat seagrass and seaweed that grows on the rocky seafloor. Sea urchins are a primary food source for sea otters, starfish, wolf eels, triggerfish, and others that hunt for me. In the San Diego area, sea urchins are important to kelp forest ecosystems as a food source for the California spiny lobster and sheephead.

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New study outlines importance of adaptive management strategies for MPAs

Ourdoor Outreach students learn about tide pools, tagging and estimating sealife populations at Scripps Institiute of Oceanography.

Students overlooking the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve

WILDCOAST has long supported the conservation of our coastal and marine resources through a number of management strategies. In recent years the primary tool used for natural resource management in coastal and marine ecosystems has been the implementation of marine protected areas (MPAs). The establishment of MPAs is a relatively recent advancement in conservation science and works by restricting resource removal in select areas. Areas selected to become MPAs are chosen because of their importance as critical habitat, cultural sites and for strategic resource management. Recent studies have supported the benefits of MPAs showing that they increase the size of fish and invertebrates and act as a sort of “recharge station” for fisheries while improving overall ocean and ecosystem health. Many of the MPAs established around the state, such as those in San Diego, are approaching their five year review.  

In a recent paper published in the journal of Ocean and Coastal Management titled Assessment and management of cumulative impacts in California’s network of marine protected areas, authors Megan E. Mach, et al. explain that simply establishing MPAs as stationary zones of protection may not be an effective management strategy without taking into consideration larger environmental stressors. As human population grows, sea surface temperatures rise, invasive species spread and the ocean becomes more acidic, management of MPAs needs to remain flexible the their ability to adapt. These adaptive approaches require the cooperation of stakeholders from all walks of life. The issue is that at times policy is slow to adapt to best management practices and as the paper points out “Marine protected areas are likely to result in desired conservation outcomes when human activities and their associated stressors impacting biodiversity and ecosystem integrity are understood, and the most important of these and their cumulative impacts are addressed.”

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