FCEC is going places. In fact, our approach to cleaning up and educating the public about the pollution off of the Palos Verdes Shelf has gone international.
Frankie Orrala, Program Coordinator at Heal the Bay and member of the Angler Outreach Team with FCEC, traveled to his home country of Ecuador in September to visit family and spread the word about FCEC’s program. During his ten day trip Frankie gave two presentations on his work with Heal the Bay and FCEC.
Orrala made his way to Ecuador’s National Fisheries Institute where he spoke with agency staff members about fish contamination in Southern California and FCEC’s efforts to monitor contamination and educate the public about its effect on human and environmental health.
“The scientists at the institute do not study all the contamination in their rivers and oceans,” says Orrala. “They do not monitor heavy metals or chemicals in the water. So they were very interested in our work and hope to learn from the progress we have made on these issues.”
A big concern among biologists at the institute, Orrala notes, is the potential pollution in the watershed known as “Guayas”, where local urban communities allegedly discharge wastewater into the local estuary.
“It’s potentially a very big problem, so the hope is that they can monitor this stuff and begin the process to clean it up,” adds Orrala.
Traveling to his Universidad de Guayaquil, located in the city by the same name, Frankie gave a presentation to his former biology and fisheries professors, other students and staff about Southern California’s fish contamination and public education efforts.
“It was really cool for me to come back and share this information with people at my old school,” he says of the experience. “People were very interested in what we are doing here in California to address the contaminated fish issue.”
During his trip a local radio host as well as a writer from a magazine called “Fisheries in Ecuador,” both interviewed Orrala about his work in California.
While sharing his knowledge of contamination issues was fascinating, the best and most exciting part of Frankie’s trip was not being interviewed, or even rubbing shoulders with old college professors.
“The best part of my short trip back to Ecuador was the opportunity for me to visit the northern part of the Incan ruins,” recalls Frankie. “Even to this day the great Incan Empire sparks amazement in me.”
See Frankie's photos of his trip to Ecuador on our Flickr page here.