Tidepool Poaching Threatens Ocean Treasures


As a result of warm weather and ocean temperatures as well as an influx of summer visitors, San Diego beaches have experienced record crowds recently. Unfortunately as a result, San Diego’s already fragile tidepools are literally being trampled and picked to death.

“Poachers and many beachgoers are ignoring no-take restrictions in our San Diego County marine protected areas and animals such as mussels, black turban snails, purple sea urchins and lobster are feeling a lot of this pressure,” said Angela Kemsley, Conservation and Communication Manager of WILDCOAST.

Many of San Diego’s most visited tidepools are located within one of the 11 State of California marine protected areas (MPAs) along 10.3 miles of coastline within San Diego County. The removal of marine organisms from tidepools for consumptive purposes is detrimental to these delicate ecosystems and can also be hazardous to human health.

“With a heat wave and large crowds forecast for Labor Day, San Diegans need to know that there is up to a $1,000 fine if you are caught poaching in a State-protected tidepool,” said Kemsley.

WILDCOAST, a coastal conservation organization, is carrying out a ‘Protect our Tidepools’ campaign in San Diego in order to educate the public on how to respect our tidepools so we can enjoy them for generations to come. The organization will have representatives at key tidepool sites along the San Diego County coastline this coming Labor Day weekend to educate beachgoers about good tidepooling practices.

Tidepooling can be a safe and enjoyable outdoor activity that allows visitors to connect with nature while still maintaining a physical distance from others. However, to minimize impact on tidepools and the marine organisms and wildlife WILDCOAST is making the following recommendations to Protect our Tidepools: 1) be aware of stepping on on anything that’s alive, 2) avoid turning over rocks to investigate further- turning over rocks results in disrupting and redecorating an organism’s home, 3) leave all animals where they are; and 4) do not take anything home.

The public can report wildlife crimes such as poaching, to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s “CalTIP” hotline, by calling 1-888-334-2258, or by texting “CALTIP”, followed by a space and the message, to 847-411 (tip411).

“We must do everything we can to safeguard ocean treasures that belong to all of us,” said Kemsley.

For more information download WILDCOAST’s MPA Tidepool Ambassador Media Kit: