May 26, 2011

The State Water Resources Control Board's Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP), in collaboration with the Regional Monitoring Program and the Southern California Bight Regional Monitoring Program, has released findings from California’s largest-ever statewide survey of contaminants in sport fish from coastal locations. This report presents findings from 2009 - the first year of a two-year survey - including new data for 42 locations. Monitoring in 2009 centered on areas near Los Angeles and San Francisco, including San Francisco Bay. This initial screening study is the first step in an effort to identify and quantify contaminants in California’s coastal waters to provide a detailed evaluation of human and wildlife exposure and to establish priorities for cleanup actions.

The Coast Survey was funded by the State Water Resources Control Board’s Surface Water Ambient Monitoring Program (SWAMP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The Coast Survey is one component of a new program that is tracking sport fish contamination in all California water bodies. Results for another 27 coastal locations will be available in May 2012. Results from a statewide assessment of contaminants in sport fish from California rivers and streams will be available in May 2013.

An updated advisory for San Francisco Bay that incorporates the Coast Survey data is available from the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA).

Fact sheet summarizing the findings of the survey

Press release from the State Board

The full Coast Survey Report

The public can access results for individual fishing locations included in the Coast Survey (as well as the earlier SWAMP Lakes Survey and other studies) through the California Water Quality Monitoring Council’s “My Water Quality” web portal. Information on sport fish contamination can be accessed by clicking on “Is It Safe to Eat Fish and Shellfish from Our Waters?”



United Press International, news blurb, Toxins In California sport fish measured

San Diego News, news blurb, High Level of Pollutants in Sport Fish

Southwest Riverside News Network, news blurb, Concerning levels of toxins found in sport fish along San Diego coastline


San Diego Union Tribune, by Mike Lee, Toxins troubling in fish caught in local waters


Los Angeles Times, by Tony Barboza, Mercury and PCBs widespread in sport fish along California's urban coastline, survey finds. This article was linked via the Huffington Post

CBS San Francisco, Video coverage and an interview with Jay Davis

KTLA News, news blurb, State Officials Warn of Dangerous Levels of Toxins in Sport Fish

ABC Local, news blurb, Mercury, PCBs widespread in California's urban coast fish

Medical News Today, by Christian Nordqvist , Worrying Mercury And PCB Levels Found In Californian Coastal Fish


Orange County Register, by Pat Brennan, Study finds Mercury, PCBs in Coastal Fish

Long Beach Report, news report, Details of State Agency Findings Re Methylmercury and PCB In Some Long Beach Area Sport Fish

United Press International, news blurb, Survey finds contamination in California fish

Daily Breeze, by Melissa Pamer, Piers get new signs warning against eating 5 kinds of fish


Los Angeles Times, by Tony Barboza, Sportfish Contaminated along California's Urban Coastline

Programs and Focus Areas: 
Clean Water Program