Pollution Impacts in Orange Co.’s Surfing Country

Pollution Impacts in Orange Co.’s Surfing Country


  • Study focuses on area offshore of Huntington Beach and
    Newport Beach impacted by the OCSD outfall and Newport
  • We are looking at the physiological effects chemicals cause in
    English sole and Hornyhead turbot
  • Fish have been found to have PAH’s, PCB’s and pesticides in
    their tissues
  • These fish showed altered endocrine systems (thyroid, stress
    and reproduction)


Orange County Coast

With collaborators at Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD), California
State University-Long Beach, and University of California-Riverside, we are
participating in a continuing study on pollution impacts in wild fish living
along the soft-bottom San Pedro Shelf offshore of Orange County from
Huntington Harbor to Dana Point.  The study has looked particularly closely
at the area offshore of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach that is
impacted by the OCSD outfall and Newport Harbor.  In this study, several
marine fish species are being evaluated for the levels of chemical
contaminants in their tissues and the potential physiological effects of these
contaminants in the animals.  Some of these fish include Pacific sanddab
(Citharichthys sordidus), Hornyhead turbot (Pleuronichthys verticalis),
English sole (Parophrys vetulus) and California scorpionfish (Scorpaena
).  These are common inshore fishes living on the shelves, and they
are exposed to a large variety of human-derived chemicals.  Results from
this ongoing work have found that these fish have organic contaminants in
their tissues, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides.  These fish also show significant effects in
important endocrine systems, including their reproductive, thyroid and
cortisol systems.  This is called “Endocrine Disruption” and it is of
significant concern, since hormones regulate normal physiological functions
in animals.  Impairment of such endocrine systems can affect disease
suseptibility, growth and development, metabolism and reproduction, among
others.  These studies have been the first of their kind being carried out in
southern California, and they are helping us to understand the how wildlife is
being impacted.  Continuing research in this project is aimed at linking the
different contaminants present in the animals to the physiological effects
and changes observed in the impacted animals.



Environmental scientists sampling fish offshore of Orange County, for later laboratory analyses.




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