Human Feces Left on the Beaches by Abalone Divers
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Dear Supporter of a Safe and Healthy Mendocino Coast:
People flock to the North Coast each year during abalone season. They are taking home abalone, urchin, rockfish and kelp, but some are also leaving behind human waste in the form of used toilet paper and feces.
As part of the Mendocino Abalone Watch, I patrol parking lots and coves where abalone divers and rock pickers enter and exit the water. This season I have found widespread evidence of human waste in bushes and trees just beyond the fringes of parking lots.
This disgusting practice must stop.
Obviously, this is a health problem and something needs to be done about it. I suggest initiating the following education and abatement program:
- Begin educating the public about where restrooms can be found by posting signs at all popular dive and rock picking spots directing people to the available public restrooms;
- During abalone season (April through June and August through November) portable restrooms need to be placed on State Parks properties in the Mendocino area at Caspar South Headlands, Road 500D, Jack Peters Creek, Mendocino Headlands Arch Rock, and Gordon Lane;
- Have County deputies, CFW and Parks personnel cite people who are caught contributing to this problem;
- With the issue of next year’s abalone report card, publish a notice that this practice will not be tolerated and there will be a fine if a person is caught doing so.
Red abalone is a tremendously important resource for the North Coast.
Unfortunately, the popularity of this recreational sport does come with a price tag. Please, let’s do what we can to eliminate this unacceptable bycatch of this ever-increasingly popular sport.
William Lemos, PH. D.
Mendocino Abalone Watch