5 Reasons to Protect Coral Reef Ecosystems

Coral reefs, also known as “the rainforests of the sea”, are well known for their beauty and vibrant colors, but apart from that, they are extremely important, both ecologically and economically. However, coral reefs are deteriorating and dying at an alarming rate due to human and natural pressures that range from overfishing and degradation to ocean acidification and climate change. Scientists have estimated that 75% of the world’s corals are at risk and at least 10% have already died.

So why are coral reefs so important?

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Casa Puesta del Sol, a Piece of Paradise.

BAJA BASH is around the corner, and we have some really cool items for our auction! Now imagine you, your friends/family, a margarita and THAT VIEW! Join us for the BAJA BASH, Saturday, June 10 to help us conserve Mexico’s beautiful natural resources, and for a chance to vacation in paradise as well.

Casa Puesta del Sol, a Piece of Paradise:

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Building Ocean Stewardship Through WILDCOAST’s MPA Floating Laboratories

Last week students from Mar Vista’s Poseidon Academy program boarded the  fishing vessel Sea Watch out of Seaforth Sportfishing Marina in Mission Bay and participated in WILDCOAST’s Floating Laboratory Project. Once aboard, students split into three research groups and began sampling water quality, plankton, and fish abundance and distribution.

Under the guidance of WILDCOAST staff and volunteers, students used modern sampling techniques to measure various water parameters to determine water quality, executed plankton collection using towable nets, dropped GoPro video cameras on fishing rods to observe fish assemblage and dissected squid. When the three-hour sampling cruise was complete, each student research group presented their methods, findings, and the importance of their data, all of which was collected inside the South La Jolla MPA (marine protected area), to the other groups. They used the collected data to contribute to ongoing baseline monitoring efforts in California’s statewide network of MPAs.

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Gray Whale Season in Baja was a Huge Success

Each year gray whales travel over 10,000 miles round trip between their nursery lagoons in Baja California Sur, Mexico, to their feeding grounds in the Arctic. This is one of the longest migrations of any mammal in the world.

During the 2016-2017 season, our partners at Mexico’s National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) counted 1521 whales in the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve, including 601 calves and 920 adult whales.  If you’re lucky, you might be able to see a few of them on their way back north to their summer homes in Alaska!.

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Help Save Our Valuable Wetlands!

Coastal lagoon, Cabo Pulmo National Park, Sea of Cortez (Gulf of California), Mexico, November

Wetlands are ecosystems that are partially or permanently flooded with fresh, saline or brackish water. They provide us with a number of important services such as sources for food and water security, as well as for adaptation and mitigation for the impacts of climate change.

Wetlands act as natural sponges, absorbing and storing excess water and thus reducing flooding caused by rain, storms, hurricanes, or tsunamis. During the dry season they release stored water, delaying the onset of droughts and reducing water shortages.


Its great economic importance is also due to its high productivity and biological diversity. Wetlands provide a refuge and nursery habitat to many marine species, especially migratory birds. [Read more…]

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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