• #savemarinscoho

    Join The Coho Photo Campaign!

    Join our Coho Photo Campaign! Easy as 1,2,3….. 1) Take a photo holding up a sign that says why you think it is important

  • Where to See Salmon

    Coho salmon and steelhead trout enter Lagunitas Creek, San Geronimo Creek and several other tributaries through Tomales Bay to  spawn after the firs...

  • Volunteer Hours

    If you have volunteered hours to work on a project during any given month, please download and fill out form here.

  • Marin County Stream and Coho Salmon Map

    To view an online map, please click here.

  • Environmental Web Sites

    The links below are websites that help to protect and preserve our environment: Sierra Club Marin Group A regional group of the San Francisco Bay Ch...

  • Educational Partners

    Please click the links below to find out more about our educational partners: Occidental Arts & Ecology Center A nonprofit education center and or...

Reports

  • econ-report-cover

    The Economic Argument Against the California Driftnet Fishery

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    Click to download the report.

    The California driftnet fishery has an overall negative impact on our economy because it costs more to manage the fishery than the wealth that is created from the fishery.

    Taxpayers pay for observers and regulators for fisheries to protect public marine resources. Because driftnets are inherently destructive, tight regulation is necessary to ensure that the fleet complies with U.S. and California law and that the fishery does not devastate the public marine resources of the California coast. The cost of regulation would substantially decrease if the California swordfish fishery used more sustainable fishing gear instead of driftnets.

    The catch from the California driftnet fishery peaked in the 1980s and has been steadily declining.1 According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California driftnet fishery landed 135,000 pounds of swordfish in 2013, valued at $585,000.

    Click here to download the report.

  • SeaTurtleImpactsCover-DougP

    Sea Turtle Impacts

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    Click here to download the free report.

    Sea turtles are among the most ancient of living species, having evolved during the age of the dinosaurs some 110 million years ago. Today, seven species survive. All sea turtles found in U.S. waters are listed as ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened’ under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Importantly, the two main species killed by the driftnet fishery – the Pacific Loggerhead and the Leatherback – are both endangered and in imminent peril of extinction.

    Sea turtles reach a large size as adults, making them immune to most natural predators and allowing females to produce thousands of young over their long reproductive lives, despite the fact that relatively few will survive to adulthood. This successful evolutionary strategy has worked for millions of years, but is now being short-circuited when adult sea turtles are killed in industrial fishing gear. Sea turtles are now endangered worldwide.

    Click here to download the free report.

  • Coho graph

    Coho Spawning Population

    SPAWN, National Park Service, and Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD) are part of the team counting and monitoring the numbers of fish migrating to their natal streams to spawn and lay eggs. SPAWN monitors these fish in the San Geronimo Valley’s small tributaries, specifically Arroyo, El Cerrito, Barranca, Montezuma, Larsen, Willis Evans, Woodacre, and North Fork San Geronimo creeks. Below is our brief overview of the data collected this spawning season in our watershed.

    This season a total of 271 coho redds were observed throughout our watershed.

    For the first time in recent years, the timing and amount of rainfall allowed our coho salmon to make their way into some of San Geronimo’s smaller tributaries. SPAWN documented a total of 30 coho salmon redds (nests) this season in the San Geronimo tributaries, but they were all in just two of the eight tributaries, with 17 redds recorded in Arroyo Creek, and 13 redds in Woodacre Creek.

    These two small tributaries accounted for 30 percent of the total 99 spawners for the San Geronimo Valley and 11 percent of all the redds in the Watershed (which includes Lagunitas Creek, Devils Gulch, Cheda Creek, San Geronimo Creek and all seven San Geronimo tributaries).

    Coho graph

    While media reports have stated the run count of 271 is the best in ten years, what may be more biologically relevant is the fact that the spawning numbers for this year-class are below its 311 average.

    These fish live and die in a three year period, so there are basically three distinct year-class populations. If you look at the year-class that spawned this year, and compare it against those 3 years ago, six years ago, nine years ago, etc., it is below average. Scientists do not normally try to draw conclusions about population trends from a single year’s data point.

    The stated U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service recovery goal is to bring the runs of these imperiled fish to average 2,600 adult fish each and every year.

    In Marin, the species is on the verge of extinction, no matter how the numbers are spun. This year, our creeks and tributaries did provide spawning grounds to a few more fish than last year, but more must be done to ensure these fish not only survive but thrive.

  • Driftnet-Overview-Cover

    Driftnet Overview

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    Please click to download a .pdf of the report.

    As scientists are warning that our ocean ecosystems are on the verge of collapse, leaders are taking action to rein in the world’s worst industrial fisheries.

    Astonishingly, one of those worst offenders is California’s driftnet fishery, (also known as the CA drift gillnet fishery). Currently, the fishery consists of a small fleet of roughly 20 active vessels that set nets the size of the Golden Gate Bridge to drift unattended through our oceans. While the primary targeted commercial species for this fishery are swordfish and shark, these nets entangle everything in their mile-wide path, resulting in high levels of bycatch (unintended catch, most thrown overboard dead or injured).

    Over the past ten years, nearly a thousand air-breathing whales, dolphins, and sea turtles have drowned, while thousands of sharks (that depend on constant movement) have suffocated.

    In the last ten years, an estimated 26,000 sharks overall were caught by this deadly fishery, with nearly 10,000 simply being tossed overboard. The fishery was especially wasteful in its treatment of blue sharks. In the last decade, 8,186 blue sharks were caught, and an astounding 8,180 were discarded. Of those discarded nearly 5,313 were dead. The fishery also caught an astounding 8,000 common thresher sharks (a candidate species for listing under the U.S. Endangered Species Act) and is further jeopardizing shark populations.

    This inherently destructive fishing gear has been banned by the United Nations, on the high seas, by a host of countries, and throughout the United States. California is the last state in the U.S. to allow this fishing method, which has been described as “invisible curtains of death.”

    Essentially, this gear entangles or kills almost everything that becomes entangled, in hopes that some of the thousands of animals caught or killed are swordfish, an expensive luxury product with dangerous levels of mercury. Only one in eight of the animals caught are swordfish.

    Given the tremendous difficulty in enforcing environmental laws for such a destructive fishery, U.S. taxpayers bear the cost of managing this economically marginal fishery for almost no benefit. The end result is that the driftnet fishery is a net drag on the U.S. economy.

    Download the Driftnet Overview by clicking here (.pdf).

Fact Sheets

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    Sea Turtle Ecology Course $19.95

    Graceful in the water, sea turtles glide through the ocean with the greatest of ease and trek to far away beaches to ensure continuation of their species.

    Through this fun online course you will investigate the history of these marine reptiles, both natural and anthropogenic threats to their survival, reproduction, and how they cope with the challenges they face. You will explore all seven living sea turtle species and by the end be able to identify them!

    Proceeds of sales benefit Turtle Island Restoration Network and our efforts to save sea turtles!

    Please click on the picture of the sea turtle below to purchase and participate in the online Sea Turtle Ecology course.

  • Photo by Jonathan R. Green (CDF/ DPNG)

    Whale Shark Fact Sheet

    Whale shark: Rhincodon typus  

    Life History and Distribution

    Whale sharks are the world’s largest fish and can grow up to 20m in length. They are found worldwide in tropical and temperate waters.

     These large fish utilize a viviparous method of reproduction, meaning they give birth to live young. This was discovered when a female whale shark was harpooned off the coast of Taiwan in 1995 and she was carrying 300 yolk-dependent embryos.

    Whale sharks have large, gaping mouths that enable efficient filter feeding. They eat mainly plankton and small fish.

    Threats 

    Whale sharks are listed as vulnerable on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. This is due mainly to many human-caused factors such as overfishing, bycatch in fishing gear, and illegal poaching.

     One whale shark fin can be sold for up to $15,000 for human consumption or for ornamental uses. The fins and meat are sold to restaurants to make food, the skin is used to make bags, and the oil is sold to make fish oil supplements. Legal fishing for whale sharks is banned in most countries, but still allowed in some Asian countries.

    Due to their slow nature, whale sharks are vulnerable to becoming entangled in fishing gear unintentionally. They often die from not being able to move water over their gills, or die from being pulled onto the boat in the net. Animals with such large body structures often cannot support their weight out of the water.

    Importance

    In the past two decades whale sharks have become increasingly important for tourism, especially in developing island nations in their dive and snorkel industry. Popular sites for whale shark tourism are Philippines; Mexico; Ningaloo, Australia; the Red Sea; and Utila, Honduras. The whale sharks viewed in these areas are typically foraging aggregations of small males.

     Until recently, almost nothing was known about these animals in the Eastern Tropical Pacific besides regular sightings of large individuals in the Galapagos by dive tourists. This is area is critical not only for a healthy ecotourism industry, but also for whale shark research to gain more insight into their migrations and reproductive cycles in order to establish critical habitat according to their life history.

For Kids & Classes

  • sea-turtle-on-beach-WEB

    Sea Turtle Ecology Course $19.95

    Graceful in the water, sea turtles glide through the ocean with the greatest of ease and trek to far away beaches to ensure continuation of their species.

    Through this fun online course you will investigate the history of these marine reptiles, both natural and anthropogenic threats to their survival, reproduction, and how they cope with the challenges they face. You will explore all seven living sea turtle species and by the end be able to identify them!

    Proceeds of sales benefit Turtle Island Restoration Network and our efforts to save sea turtles!

    Please click on the picture of the sea turtle below to purchase and participate in the online Sea Turtle Ecology course.

  • #savemarinscoho

    Join The Coho Photo Campaign!

    Join our Coho Photo Campaign!

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    Easy as 1,2,3…..

    1) Take a photo holding up a sign that says why you think it is important to protect coho.

    2) Upload your photo to social media and use the hashtag #SAVEMARINSCOHO

    3) Get your friends to join, and exponentially increase your impact!

    Below is the link to our sentence starter but feel free to make your own: PhotoCampaign_coho

    Please make sure to share it with us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/salmonprotection?fref=ts

  • images-2

    Make Your Own Sea Turtle Costume!

    Materials:

    • 1 or 2 large cardboard box/cartons. I get these from appliance stores or bicycle shops
    • 8 1-2″ wide strips of fabric about 1-2 ft. long. I got fabric from a thrift shop, old sheets or bed spreads work well for this (try to find a color that is similar to your turtle).
    • Quart of exterior house paint (possibly some Z-prime for an undercoat depending on quality desired).
    • A heavy-duty stapler with 3/8″ staples. Stapler needs to be the long handled heavy duty type. Staples longer than 3/8″ tend to bend and come back through the cardboard creating a sharp, snagging hazard.

    Click here to download and view the full instructions.

    Sea Turtle Costumes in Action (pictured below):

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  • cocos whaleshark

    Cocos Island Gallery

    Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica is known worldwide as an ocean haven for spectacular sharks, rare sea turtles, whales and abundant marine wildlife. But even World Heritage status has not stopped commercial fishers from invading these treasured waters.

    Turtle Island is working to demand that Costa Rica protect Cocos Island National Park create a protected area that connects all the way to Ecuador’s waters, northeast of the Galapagos Islands. These two nations could create one of the world’s largest protected ocean zones, and save the endangered leatherback turtle from extinction.

    And now you can help us! We welcome experienced divers who want to participate in our ongoing research to help tag and track sea turtles and sharks in the Cocos Islands. You will get hands-on opportunities to capture turtles and attach satellite and acoustical transmitters and to tag and photograph hammerhead sharks underwater.