Fish Waste Continuing to Sicken Pelicans in Northern California
Notezoo Daily News. Sickened pelicans continue to show up in northern California and the culprit seems to be fish waste from surrounding harbors. There are currently over 200 brown pelicans being treated at the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center as the problem with ill pelicans continues to plague the coastal area.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor, the Recreation and Harbor District, and the Crescent City Harbor District are working to alleviate the problem of toxic fish waste that is sickening the penguins. The co-director of Bird Ally X, Monte Merrick, stated that one of the main problems is the use of cleaning tables in Crescent City harbor that produce large amount of fish waste and discharged fish oil. Two of the cleaning tables have already been closed, he noted.
The tables have been closed because trying to educate the fishermen of the continuing problem with the fish waste was not working, according to Richard Young, Crescent City Harbormaster. Young said there were no other options since people were not heeding the request of the harbor groups.
With the closing of two outdoor fishing tables, only one indoor table remains and fishermen are complaining that one table is not enough for all the fisherman, especially during busy times of the day. Young countered that the minor problem of more congestion for the fishermen is worth it if it helps protect the pelicans from getting sick.
There are plans for more indoor cleaning tables in the future, but the timetable is uncertain because of the cost and not readily available grant funding, added Young.
The main area of fish contamination has been the Shelter Cove harbor that is managed by the Humboldt County harbor district. Jack Crider, Chief Executive Officer, stated that there have been some steps taken to alleviate the contamination problem, including adding an extension hose that drains the fish waste into the ocean and covering a fish cleaning table. Crider said these are not permanent solutions but they are just trying to make it through the season and there are talks about using the fish waste as a fish meal product or using it as bait for the upcoming crab season.
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