December 22, 2010

Help Monterey Bay Become a Leader in Ocean Health With Your Year-End Gift

Consider a year-end gift to Save Our Shores

There are only a few days left to donate before the end of 2010 to receive a tax benefit for Saving Our Shores.

By donating today, you'll make Monterey Bay a leader in ocean health by helping:

  • Organize over 250 beach, river & inland cleanups in Santa Cruz, Monterey, and San Mateo Counties in 2011!

  • Decrease plastic pollution in our oceans by working to ban single-use plastic bags & styrofoam containers around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

  • Bring marine education to over 100 classrooms and community groups in 2011!

  • Host film screenings & public round-tables focusing on the health of the world's oceans.

  • Educate the 2011 class of Sanctuary Stewards - the core volunteer force of Save Our Shores

  • Work at 4 different harbors to educate boaters about clean boating practices, how to reduce small oil spills, and the regulations of our new Marine Protected Areas

  • Energize your community to protect the incredibly diverse world that is the Monterey Bay.

Thank you,
Laura J. Kasa
Executive Director
Save Our Shores

Save Our Shores is your voice, your outlet & your local network for real sea change.

October 15, 2010

Welcoming Monarchs Back to Santa Cruz at our Marine Protected Area, Natural Bridges SP

On October 10th, Save Our Shores took part in the 30th Anniversary of Welcome Back Monarchs Day at Natural Bridges State Park in Santa Cruz. The festival attracted over 800 people from the greater Bay Area interested in a day filled with monarch butterflies, kids crafts, a lively band, and hand cranked pumpkin ice cream! (And I even got to slip away from my table to take a look at the Monarch Butterflies)!

Natural Bridges is one of 29 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the Central Coast of California, as well as one of the most visited. Save Our Shores took part in this annual celebration of nature to educate people about the importance of Marine Protected Areas and
actions people can take to protect their local beaches and ocean environment. The MPAs were created in 2007 to safeguard fragile ecosystems along our coasts by limiting fishing and harvesting in certain areas. Natural Bridges has some of the most amazing tidepools on the Central Coast, but they have degraded along the years because of continuous over-harvesting of mussels, sea urchins and other invertebrates. It is now illegal to remove animal an
d plant life of any kind from the tidepools and waters right offshore, which we feel is a true success story of a Marine Protected Area.

Save Our Shores conducted nature walks with festival attendees to talk about the animals in the tidepools and Marine Protected Areas. We all learned a lot about Natural Bridges and the history of the park and everyone was happy to hear about the extra protection this unique place has because of it's MPA status. We saw an abundance of marine life in the tidepools including sea anemones, sea urchins and mussels, so it was an honor to be a part of this unique Santa Cruz tradition. If you live near Santa Cruz and have yet to experience the Monarch migration or abundance of marine life in the tidepools of Natural Bri
dges State Park, Save Our Shores urges you to get out in the ocean air and see some of the most amazing wildlife that California's Central Coast has to offer.

September 22, 2010

New Pollution Prevention BaitTanks Keep Toxins out of the Ocean & Save Some Fish on the Way

For the benefit of the marine environment, Save Our Shores recently unveiled a new pollution prevention project to collect the #1 form of marine debris found littering our local beaches and coastlines: cigarette butts.

Marine health, not human health, is the target of this anti-cigarette campaign.

Can you believe Save Our Shores staff and volunteers have removed over 132,337 cigarette butts during beach and river cleanups since 2007? And just wait until we update that stat after this Saturday's Annual Coastal Cleanup Day (Sept. 25th, 9am-noon, all around the world)!

Cigarette filters and left over tobacco contain heavy metals and organic compounds that create acute toxicity in the marine environment. Toxicity and ingestion make cigarette litter a clear and present danger to the success of the recently-established Marine Protected Areas along the Central Coast of California, our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and coa
stlines and waterways across the globe.

Save Our Shores decided to tackle this pollution problem with a new force, and began working with both the Cities of Capitola and Santa Cruz to identify high traffic smoking areas in need of cigarette receptacles. Together, we have begun to strategically place stainless steel cigarette receptacles, called BaitTanks, along the Capitola Esplanade, the Santa Cruz Wharf, and Beach Street in Santa Cruz.

The Bait Tanks are large steel boxes with a shark fin on top that say: "Save some Fish. Feed me butts."

The City of Capitola was eager to take advantage of this opportunity to promote improvements to our coastal resource and provide educational opportunities to residents and visitors. “The cigarette receptacles provided by this program help the City promote a clean coastal environment and dovetail with the City’s ban on smoking on Capitola beach and nearby walkways and streets,” says Steve Jesberg from the City of Capitola.

Save Our Shores will continue to target problematic pollution in our community and develop ways to combat it.

The inventor of the BaitTanks is Mark Armen. Mark's background in recycling led him to the realization that recycling doesen't work for everything, and especially for the little things. After a lot of research and thought, he created the company Gulpable to get his BaitTanks out into the world. Beginning in Santa Cruz, Capitola, and Santa Monica, placement of Mark's BaitTanks has just begun.

For more information on the BaitTanks visit:

Join the I Heart Clean Beaches crew at!

September 16, 2010

Thumbs Down: California Senate is Bought by ACC Lobbyists & Fails to Pass the Plastic Bag Ban

In a disappointing turn of events on the very last day of August's legislative season, the California Senate failed to pass the most important environmental bill of the year, AB 1998, the ban on single-use plastic bags. The bill would have created a uniform policy for the state and remove the need for local municipalities to work on their own separate bans.

The importance of pushing local bans on plastic bag bans and polystyrene take out containers just increased tenfold. Local bans are popping up all over our nation and around the world, and will continue to spread like wildfire.

Both the County of Santa Cruz and City of Santa Cruz have both approved the 'Single Use Bag Reduction Ordinance,' which is waiting for the Environmental Report to be completed before this ordinance goes into effect.

Next up, Save Our Shores is going to put the pressure on the Cities of Capitola, Scotts Valley, and Watsonville to pass their own city-wide bans. Once that happens, Santa Cruz County will likely reduce its plastic bag use by 80% or more.

It gets a little confusing sometimes. In Santa Cruz County, as in all counties, a county-wide law only goes into effect for the unincorporated areas of the county (so not the cities) since the cities within the county have their own governing bodies, and laws. So, for all of Santa Cruz County to have a bag ban in full effect, we need the other three cities to approve the ordinance separately.

In Monterey County, where a plastic bag ban is not yet on the table (don't worry, it will be placed on the table very soon!), Save Our Shores is working on getting the last of the polystyrene bans passed that will create a completely polystyrene-free Monterey County.

Monterey County, as well as the Cities of Monterey, Carmel, Seaside, Pacific Grove, and Del Rey Oaks have each already passed their own bans on polystyrene take out containers (otherwise known as sytrofoam).

Join Us

Now is the time for citizens to create change in their own communities. Join us in our fight to rid our communities, waterways, and oceans of these useless pieces of pollution!

See below for more on AB 1998, which was introduced to the California Assembly by Assemblywoman Brownley and went on to foster more attention and support than any other bill this year. Read more on AB 1998...

August 26, 2010

Announcing the Winners in the Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bag Video Contest

In conjunction with the Santa Cruz County, state of California, and global efforts to ban single use plastic bags, Save Our Shores and Wallace “J” Nichols drummed up the idea to host a viral video contest with the goal of raising awareness about the unnecessary use of plastic bags. The contest, dubbed the Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags Video Contest, was announced on Earth Day this year, and the final winners have been selected.

With the help of judges Philippe Cousteau, Mark Stone, Eric Thiermann, and Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols, the Grand Prize Winners of the Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags Video Contest are:

  • Echo Zen, of Del Mar, CA: Winner in the ‘Judges Choice’ category. Echo Zen will receive a brand new HD Flip Camera. Watch their video...
  • Tanner Gibson, of Pickens, South Carolina: Winner in the ‘Most Views on Youtube’ category (cutoff date: 8/6/2010). Tanner will receive a brand new SD Flip Camera. Watch his video...

And The three Runners Up are:

The three Runners-up will receive a bundle of Save Our Shores reusable gear as prizes.

The Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags Video Contest entries are creative, unique, hilarious, and sometimes a little bit scary. The Top 10 Finalist can be viewed via the post below.

August 16, 2010

BAN THE BAG - Help pass California AB 1998

We need your help to pass the AB 1998, the California bill to ban single-use plastic bags. TAKE ACTION today!

Why AB 1998?

* AB 1998 will create a uniform policy throughout the state, instead of the 'swiss cheese' effect currently taking place. Plastic bag bans have been, and are being, passed everywhere from San Francisco, to Santa Cruz County, to China, parts of India, around the nation, and across the world.

* Recycling does NOT work. Only 1-5% of plastic bags end up being recycled, and its only down-cycling that occurs at that point. Californian's alone use 19 billion single-use plastic bags in one year.

* California spends over $300 million annually to clean up littered streets and waterways. About 90% of floating marine debris in the ocean is plastic, and over 267 marine species worldwide have been impacted by plastic pollution in our oceans.

Save Our Shores strongly supports AB 1998, and hope our participation in the lobby day for AB 1998 at the State Capitol on August 10th, as well as our attendance at the 'Don't Feed the Bag Monster' rally in San Francisco on August 12th, will help pass this important bill.

July 21, 2010

Announcing the Top 10 Video Contest Finalists!

For Earth Day this year, Save Our Shores began the Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags Video Contest, and the entries have been trickling in ever since. The goal of the contest is to spread the word - it's time to bid plastic bags goodbye.

Now, the top 10 finalists have been chosen & the 1st Place Winner and 3 Runners Up will be chosen by our esteemed judges over the next few weeks.

But the 2nd Place winner is chosen by YOU, the viewer. Whichever video gains 'Most Viewed' status by August 6th wins 2nd Place!

Our Top 10 finalists are listed below in random order - check 'em out:

Tanner Gibson, Pickens, SC:

Maya Davidson, Anja Weaver & Paige Davis, Santa Cruz, CA:

Christine Huotari, Wisconsin Rapids, WI:

Ramil Lagman, San Diego, CA:

Echo Zen, Del Mar, CA:

Destin Dern, Apopka, FL:

Craig Draeger, Thunder Bay, Canada:

Jay Romeo, Kissimmee, FL:

Ocee Wilson, Steamboat Springs, CO:

Julia Hostetler, Victoria, British Columbia:

Save Our Shores is honored to have these environmental leaders as our judges:

Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau, carries on the Cousteau family tradition of ocean exploration and conservation through his work with, Animal Planet, the Ocean Conservancy, and more.

Mark Stone, a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, sponsored the ordinance to ban plastic bags in Santa Cruz County, and represents Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Mateo Counties on the California Coastal Commission.

Eric Thiermann, local filmmaker and founder of Impact Productions, has created films twice nominated for Best Documentary Film at the world renowned Academy Awards.

Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols is a lifelong advocate for marine conservation, and current SOS Board Member, and has founded, directed, and spearheaded ocean conservation movements like Grupo Tortuguero, WiLDCOAST, and Ocean Revolution.

  • First Prize - Judges Choice - A New HD Flip Camera!
  • Second Prize - Most Views on YouTube - A New SD Flip Camera!
  • Three Runners Up - Judges Choice - Save Our Shores gear!

Join us in bidding these single-use, disposable, polluting plastic bags a heartfelt:

July 15, 2010

They Don't Trash Your Home. Why Trash Theirs?

Check out our July 4th Pollution Prevention video and consider the impact that trash has on our oceans and marine life.

Then, join us in taking a pledge to live a life free of plastic bags. The ocean will thank you.

July 7, 2010

July 5th Star Spangled Beach Cleanup a Huge Success & July 4th Pollution Prevention Day is Working!

Save Our Shores thanks the 220 community volunteers who participated in our July 5th Star Spangled Beach Cleanup, where we removed 2,750 lbs. of trash and 400 lbs. of recycling from our Santa Cruz beaches in just 3 short hours.
Thanks to you, 3,150 lbs. of pollution did not make it into the Monterey Bay, and our oceans as a whole.

During our July 4th Pollution Prevention efforts the day before, over 1,600 trash and recycling bags were handed out to beach goers on the busiest beach day of the year at Main Beach, Seabright Beach, Twin Lakes Beach, Moran Lake Beach, and Seacliff/Rio Del Mar Beach. On the 4th, our Pollution Prevention volunteers and staff reached about 3,400 people on these same beaches, educating them about ocean pollution and how to properly dispose of their trash.

Did you know July 5th is the second largest SOS beach cleanup of the year?

Our community of beach lovers is now able to experience cleaner, safer beaches at: Davenport Main Beach, 4 mile Beach, Panther Beach, Seabright Beach, Twin lakes Beach, and Seacliff and Rio Del Mar beach. Out of the seven beach cleanup sites included in the July 5th Star Spangled Beach Cleanup, the dirtiest beach was Panther Beach, at 715 pounds of trash and recycling removed, and the cleanest beach was Twin Lakes Beach, with 175 pounds of trash and recycling removed.

Our efforts are working! Because we've been handing out trash and recycling bags on beaches on the 4th of July, our July 5th cleanup data shows a decline in the amount of trash that winds up on Santa Cruz County beaches on July 5th.

Thank you, volunteers, for making such a huge impact in our community.

Up next: Annual Coastal Cleanup Day on Sept. 25th!

June 10, 2010

Leave those Adopt-a-Beach Signs Alone!
What a great program we have - businesses, groups, families and schools can all sign up to Adopt-a-Beach for the year. By becoming a beach adopter, these groups give back to our community by pledging to participate in at least three beach cleanups a year. Beach adopters help create cleaner, safer beaches, and they help protect our beloved ocean ecosystem and marine animals from the harmful effects of pollution.

So we have to wonder, why oh why do people feel the need to de-face these Adopt-a-Beach signs that are proudly displayed at adopted beaches throughout Santa Cruz County?

Don't we all live in this beautiful, idyllic, ocean community because we love the beauty of this area, the laid-back beach vibe, and the supportive, environmental minds that make this town so great?

Help us put the word out: our Adopt-a-Beach signs are on display to thank the groups that support our environment through their good work and stewardship. In other words, keep your paws off our Adopt-a-Beach signs!

Go vandalize a canvas, put it in an art gallery, and make some money for your efforts. Believe me, there are better uses for your time.

Please report any vandalized signs to Save Our Shores at

Thank you!

May 18, 2010

Back to our Roots: Opposing Offshore Oil Drilling

Save Our Shores was originally founded as a citizen-action organization in 1978 to keep offshore oil drilling out of the Monterey Bay and Central Coast waters. We succeeded. Today, we continue to lead efforts to protect the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary we helped establish throughout 1988-1992.

The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a serious national disaster and we hope this tragedy will inspire citizens, legislators, and organizations around the world to advocate for clean energy and the complete termination of new fossil fuel explorations off of our coastlines.

Residents of the Monterey Bay are fortunate to have a nationally protected Marine Sanctuary in their backyards, but the threat of future offshore oil drilling disasters is still very real.
Watch a slide show from the Gulf spill...

  • On May13, California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, along with four other West Coast Senators, introduced a new Senate Bill calling for the permanent protection of the entire Pacific Coast from any new leases on offshore oil rigs along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington State.
  • The new Senate Bill will amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, and brings together the three Pacific Coast states that have a vested interest to protect their $34 billion dollar coastal economies that support over 570,000 jobs. An identical House Bill has already been introduced.
  • We at Save Our Shores urge all of those concerned with the threat of offshore oil drilling to stand behind this bill and support clean energy alternatives that will help create robust economies and green jobs for thousands of people.
  • Because the new Senate Bill was just introduced, it has a long way to travel before it is approved into law. To show your support in the meantime, send an email to Barbara Boxer or Dianne Feinstein and let them know you oppose offshore oil drilling.

Take Action!

Here on the picturesque Monterey Bay, and up and down the coastlines of California, Oregon, and Washington, these bills will become economic support systems for our flourishing coastal industries such as tourism and recreation, while providing protections for our fisheries and environment from catastrophes like the Gulf spill.

Watch this video from the Gulf spill...

May 5, 2010

Guess who Won Best Non-Profit for 2010?

Save Our Shores extends a HUGE thank you to everyone in the community who voted for Save Our Shores as Best Non-Profit in the Good Times 'Best of 2010 List.' We owe it all to your amazing volunteer work and constant support of Save Our Shores' ocean advocacy programs.

Thank you Santa Cruz! Your commitment to the Save Our Shores mission is paying off - and a more ocean-aware community is arising. Your participation in beach and river cleanups inspires, motivates, and teaches others; your voices advocate for the health of our oceans; and your actions help our youth learn how simple, responsible choices result in a happy, healthy, ocean community.

Thank you again for Living Blue & Saving Our Shores!

April 28, 2010

Submit your 60 second video about plastic bags & win a New Flip Camera!

In conjunction with the Save Our Shores Plastic Bag Ban Campaigns underway, as well as similar efforts in the State of California and around the world, Save Our Shores is spreading the Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags message by hosting a 60-second viral video contest about the unnecessary use of plastic bags. The goal of the contest is to raise Ocean Awareness concerning the proliferation of plastic bags in our society, and to bid these unnecessary pieces of garbage a heartfelt Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye.

Submission Guidelines: Upload your plastic bag videos onto, send contact info & a link to your video to, and use the subject line: Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags.

Submission Deadline: July 11 (think: 7/11).
Video Requirements: Videos must be relevant to the issue of banning single-use plastic bags, be 60-seconds long, contain audio, and mention Save Our Shores either in the audio portion or by listing

Save Our Shores is honored to have these awesome environmental leaders as our judges:
  • Philippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary Jacques-Yves Cousteau, carries on the Cousteau family tradition of ocean exploration and conservation through his work with, Animal Planet, the Ocean Conservancy, and more.
  • Mark Stone, a Santa Cruz County Supervisor, sponsored the ordinance to ban plastic bags in Santa Cruz County, and represents Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Mateo Counties on the California Coastal Commission.
  • Eric Thiermann, local filmmaker and founder of Impact Productions, has created films twice nominated for Best Documentary Film at the world renowned Academy Awards.
  • Dr. Wallace “J” Nichols is a lifelong advocate for marine conservation, and current SOS Board Member, and has founded, directed, and spearheaded ocean conservation movements like Grupo Tortuguero, WiLDCOAST, and Ocean Revolution.
* First Prize - Judges Choice: A New HD Flip Camera!
* Second Prize - Most Views on YouTube: A New SD Flip Camera!
* Three Runners Up - Judges Choice: Save Our Shores gear.

The 60-second Hey-hye-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags video entries will be seen by thousands of viewers as they spread virally over the internet, increasing the buzz about the current efforts to ban plastic bags.

Winners will be announced & presented at the Save Our Shores annual Toast to the Coast celebration on August 21st, posted on the SOS website, and promoted far and wide through our big, blue network.

Find full contest details on our Video Contest page...

Hey-hey-hey, Goodbye Plastic Bags!

April 20, 2010

Great News: The Santa Cruz County Plastic Bag Ban Gains Approval

The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors recently voted in unanimous support of an ordinance to ban the use of plastic bags at retail shops and impose a surcharge on paper bags. The goal is to cut down on the amount of plastic bags found in our oceans, harming marine life, and littering our waterways, while promoting reusable bags as an energy saving, environmentally responsible, and simple alternative to plastic bags. Save Our Shores has been working tirelessly on the Plastic Bag Ban Campaign for years now, and from June 2007 – March 2010 help remove over 19,887 plastic bags during beach and river cleanups. Read more about SOS Plastic Bag Ban efforts...

The ordinance, originally sponsored by Supervisor Mark Stone, calls for a 10-cent fee for every paper bag used, eventually rising to a 25-cents per bag, with the revenue collected to be kept by the retailer to provide funds to implement no-bag programs, such as offering reusable bags for a low price.

The plastic bag ordinance will have to wait for an EIR (Environmental Impact Review) to thwart off opposition and lawsuits that have occurred during similar plastic bag ban efforts in other locations (such as Berkeley –vs- the American Chemistry Council). And because the proposed ordinance will only affect retailers in the unincorporated communities (thus Santa Cruz County, not the City of Santa Cruz), there is strong will and support by the cities of Santa Cruz County to quickly follow the positive example that Santa Cruz County will be setting once the plastic bag ban is enacted.

For more information...

April 15, 2010

SC Earth Day Festival this Saturday, April 17th!

Join Save Our Shores and the Santa Cruz green community this Saturday, April 17th, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day at the Santa Cruz Earth Day Festival!

Where: San Lorenzo Park Benchlands behind the County Bldg
When: 11am - 4pm

This free, rain or shine event will be powered by renewable energy, have fun activities for kids, live music, educational information and even a composting workshop. Come enjoy a great community event and learn how you can do your part to protect the environment.

Looking for a hands-on Earth Day experience? Come volunteer with Save Our Shores for our
San Lorenzo River Cleanup from 12 noon - 2pm

Meet us at the Save Our Shores booth at 12 noon and lend a hand for the health of our rivers and ocean!

For more information on the Santa Cruz Earth Day Festival...

April 13, 2010

Oceans Day In Sacramento!

It was an interesting day on Capitol Hill in Sacramento last Tuesday for the 3rd annual Ocean Day. I teamed up with Paul Hobi from The Ocean Conservancy and Francesca Koe from NRDC to talk to legislators about the California Marine Protected Areas and the bill AB 1998, the state-wide plastic bag ban.
This is one of our meetings with Aracely Campa, a staffer for Assemblymember Anna Caballero. She was really interested in the outreach we were doing for children around the Monterey Bay Area.This was after our great meeting with Stephone Paige, a staff member for Senator Abel Maldonado, he was really shocked to hear about the Great Pacific Gyre and really wanted to keep our sample, I promised I would send him one soon.

Then we met with Julia Brownley, the assemblywoman who authored AB 1998, the state-wide plastic bag ban, we had a great conversation and she was very happy we were in full support of her bill and telling people about it all day.
After our 8 meetings, we were off to the sustainable seafood reception at the Sutter Club. The spread was amazing, since I don't normally eat fish I was a little hesitant until I saw all of the different sustainable options. Tataki Sushi Bar was there, see SOS review of this awesome restaurant here.There were also some delicious oysters from Hog Island that were harvested that morning! So fresh and so yummy!It was a great day all around and we can't wait to be involved again next year!

April 7, 2010

Adventure Film Festival Tomorrow!

One night only- the Adventure Film Festival's World Tour mobilizes this years award winners, bringing them to life on the big screen in venues around the world. Audiences will travel through the lens with the world’s foremost adventure filmmakers, stirring contemplative and emotionally charged journeys within. Watch the best Kayak, Surfing, conservation films and more. You wont want to miss this one!

Join Save Our Shores tomorrow, April 8th starting at 7pm at the Rio Theater for the Adventure Film Festival. Tickets are $12 or $10 for students with ID. Check out the Facebook events page.

Here are the trailers for two of the films in the festival:

April 5, 2010

Talking to legislators for Oceans Day tomorrow...MPAs now!

Save Our Shores is going to Oceans Day in Sacramento tomorrow to talk to legislators about Marine Protected Areas and a state-wide plastic bag ban. Here is a link for last year's Oceans Day events. Hopefully we can talk to legislators from Southern and Northern California to get there MPAs approved and put into effect.

My inspiration for tomorrow? Sylvia Earle, one of the most amazing oceanographers of our time and a huge advocate for marine protected areas. This is her TED talk about her wish for more MPAs worldwide, such an amazing inspiring talk, hope you enjoy.

This is a quote from Sylvia Earle's book The World is Blue that I will be carrying with me tomorrow when I talk to law makers about how important these are to the future of the ocean and the future of mankind:

Children today and the children of tomorrow can walk through redwood forests little changed in hundreds of years except for the fact that the trees are taller and have greater girth. They can peer over the rim of the Grand Canyon and not see neon lights below, and can view the geysers and boiling springs of Yellowstone in the presence of buffalo. Nearly 400 places of natural, historic, and cultural significance are now within the U.S. National Park Service, and globally, thousands of other areas making up about 13 percent of the land have been designated for care. Fourteen national marine sanctuaries and a number of national marine monuments now embrace more than 881,000 square kilometers (340,000 square miles) of ocean in U.S. waters, and globally nearly 5,000 marine protected areas have been designated. It sounds like a lot but the total area of ocean covered is a fraction of 1 percent. That means, of course, that more than 99 percent is open for uses that are not entirely benign.

March 30, 2010

The Story of Bottled Water

This is a great new video by the same people who brought you "The Story of Stuff." Bottled water is one of the most ridiculous trends in the United States. Save Our Shores encourages you to 'Boycott the Bottle' and use stainless steel water bottles. If you are afraid of tap water, buy a water filter, it is much better than bottled water.

For more information on The Story of Bottled Water visit

March 12, 2010

Sei Whale sushi anyone?

This Monday, the world found out about the illegal sale of Sei Whale sushi in Hump restaurant in Santa Monica. The people who discovered this offense are the same people who brought you the Academy Award winning documentary, The Cove. The sale of whale meat in the US it is a direct violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Since the Sei whale is an endangered species, this is a federal offense and could result in a year in prison and fine up to $20,000, not to mention a ruined reputation for the restaurant.

The article in the New York Times goes in depth about the team stashing the sushi in plastic bags so they could perform DNA testing on the sushi to find it's origin. Sei whales are hunted in the North Pacific Ocean by Japanese whalers under a special permit from the International Whaling Commission (IWC). In 2008, the Japanese whalers had a quota for 340 minke whales, 50 Bryde's whales, 100 sei whales and 10 sperm whales. Commercial whaling for the sei whale in the North Pacific was banned in 1976, yet Japanese whalers are allowed special permits because they say they are hunting these whales for 'research' on their feeding habits. The Japanese government is reported to subsidize their operations with millions of dollars each year, despite the whale catch being sold commercially by the research program.

We hope this story will spread so people will become aware of the hidden secrets of sushi restaurants such as The Hump and to inspire people to ask more about the fish they are eating and where it came from. As consumers, we have the power to make the difference.

March 8, 2010

The Ocean Adventure Film Festival April 8th

Save Our Shores will be hosting the Ocean Adventure Film Festival on April 8th at the Rio Theater. The evening will feature a selection of award winning films highlighting surfing, kayaking, conservation and more in an effort to highlight the many ways we are connected to the ocean. Join us in an exclusive screening to celebrate our blue planet!

The Adventure Film Festival is based in Boulder, Colorado and right now they are in the middle of a worldwide tour. Lucky for us, they picked Santa Cruz as their only California stop along the way. “Adventure Film celebrates, supports and ‘ties in with’ those who wish to inspire and fire the creative kilns of transformation and awareness.” Save Our Shores is proud to be associated with such a great organization to bring hope and awareness to the world. Adventure Film Festival’s next stop is Santiago, Chile where they will continue to spread the adventure of the outdoors.

Here is the trailer for one of the movies featured in the festival called Gum For My Boat about the Bangladesh Surf Club:

The Ocean Adventure Film Festival will be held at the Rio Theater on April 8th from 7pm to 10pm, doors open at 6pm. Tickets are $10 for students and $12 for adults, all proceeds go to funding Save Our Shores programs. Prizes from Patagonia will be raffled off throughout the evening.

February 25, 2010

Plastic Bag Ban Advances for Santa Cruz County!

On Tuesday night, SOS staff member Emily attended the Santa Cruz City Council meeting to speak on behalf of the Santa Cruz County plastic bag ban. She brought the, now famous, picture of the sea otter pup stuck in a plastic bag in Elkhorn Slough along with others pictures like the one below of animals becoming entangled in plastic bags and told the council about the harm plastic bags can do when they end up in the ocean.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel published a story on the council meeting, Emily quoted our beach cleanup data, "from June 2007 to December 2009, the organization's volunteers collected a total of 16,483 plastic bags -- including retail and trash bags -- from the county's coastal areas and rivers from Watsonville to Boulder Creek."

The council had a unanimous vote in favor of the ban and approved the process of writing an ordinance. The only thing standing in our way now is the ACC (American Chemistry Council) who has sued other cities who have adopted such a ban.

Save Our Shores is drafting up the ordinance and we hope to have it ready to present, fittingly, by Earth Day this year. But we still need your support! Click here to sign our online petitions for plastic bag bans.

February 18, 2010

1400 pounds of trash collected in just 3 hours!

On Saturday February 13th, over 30 volunteers came to support Save Our Shores' river cleanup at Branciforte Creek in Santa Cruz. Volunteers collected over 1,000 pounds of trash and over 400 pounds of recycling! Volunteers removed everything from couches, chairs, a bed frame, vacuums, tarps, shopping carts, electrical wires, batteries, car parts, cans, bottles, and lots of plastic items. Thank you to those who showed their support for our local watershed and made this creek cleanup such a huge success!

Save Our Shores has been leading river and creek cleanups throughout the year as it has become clear that these inland areas need our cleanup efforts the most. While our beaches continue to receive several cleanup a month, our river areas are often overlooked and under-served. We aim to change that! SOS will be hosting a number of river cleanups throughout 2010. Upcoming river cleanups include an Earth Day San Lorenzo River cleanup on Saturday April 17th, a San Lorenzo River mouth cleanup on Saturday May 29th, and an upper San Lorenzo River cleanup on Saturday June 12th. For details on any of these cleanups please visit our public calendar on the website or contact Emily at 831-462-5660 ext. 5.

February 17, 2010

Save Our Shores at Maverick's

A Save Our Shores staff member almost got washed away in the crazy rogue waves of Maverick's last Saturday. She witnessed people getting drenched and running in the stampede to get away from the huge waves that washed over the spectators over 5 times at the world famous contest. Our staff member took picture from the cliff, it was one of the last waves that almost swept away the P.A. system up on the jetty. This was right after they finally evacuated people from the area after a few had to be taken to the hospital with broken bones. It really makes you wonder why they would set up all of the tents and equipment right on the beach, why didn't they set it up on the cliff? Just a reminder to never underestimate the power of the ocean.

Here is a picture of the fifth place surfer, Carlos Burle from Brazil after his final heat, looks like those waves were a little rough!

Save Our Shores was at the contest to spread awareness about Marine Protected Areas of the Central and North Central Coast of California as well as our monthly beach cleanups in Half Moon Bay.

February 10, 2010

Fall in Love With Your Creek this Valentine's Day!

Creek Cleanup this Saturday, February 13th at Branciforte Creek from 9am-noon.

The Save Our Shores check in table will be at Market St. and Avalon St. Save Our Shores will provide gloves, buckets and boots but please feel free to bring extra supplies and garden gloves.

Last year we collected 3,573 pounds of trash from Branciforte Creek in just 4 cleanups! Think of how much of an impact that makes on the trash that ends up in the ocean.

Now is the time to get involved in your community and help us cleanup up Branciforte Creek. This cleanup is sponsored by the City of Santa Cruz's Clean River, Ocean and Beaches Fund (Measure E). Visit the Save Our Shores website for more details.

January 29, 2010

Environmentalists in bed with oil company?

"An oil company agreed to pay several anti-drilling groups $100,000 and other compensation in exchange for their willingness to lobby for a proposal to expand drilling off the coast of Santa Barbara, according to the terms of an agreement." -San Francisco Examiner (Associated Press)

Wow, that is all we can say is wow. Save Our Shores has always had a steady stance against off-shore oil drilling, in fact it was the reason we first formed in 1978. We would never think of lobbying for drilling if we got paid off.
A few months ago our Executive Director, Laura Kasa made a statement during an interview saying that this oil drilling plan would not work and that Save Our Shores was against it. We received a call that day from an environmental group saying that we should support this oil drilling plan because the oil company would give money to environmental causes and they promised to be done in 13 years. We said that we would keep opposing the plan even with this new information and they still tried to sway us. Now we know why.

"Oil officials also agreed to donate 3,900 acres to The Trust for Public Land and contribute $1.5 million to a fund that could be used to purchase hybrid buses. Most importantly, conservationists pointed out that Plains Exploration & Production committed to shutting down its local operation in 2022."-Associated Press

With this and the supreme court ruling allowing corporations to contribute to political campaigns, what is to stop these huge companies from setting their own agenda for the country? We need to stand strong on these issues, oil drilling endangers ocean wildlife and is just going to stall our move towards renewable energy.

One action you can take now is to support the California State Parks $18 vehicle fee proposition which will overthrow the plan to drill for oil in order to pay for the state parks, another genius blackmail plan favored by Governor Schwarzenegger. There are petitions going around, if you see one, sign it and if it makes it on the ballot, make sure to vote for it. We can't let the oil companies win, even if they do offer you $100,

January 21, 2010

Salmon Run Falls Short

"Salmon didn't make the big fall comeback in Central Valley rivers that anglers and nature lovers yearned for, raising the likelihood of a third year of fishing restrictions." -Sacramento Bee

This is devastating news to fishermen in California who will be facing another fishing ban on Salmon for a third year in a row. Some scientists say it is too early to tell and they will have more information by February.

It was reported that some areas, such as the American River, had a slight increase in salmon but "the run as a whole seems likely to turn out the same or slightly smaller than in 2008, which was the smallest year ever recorded."-Sacramento Bee

Scientists are saying that there are two main causes to the decrease:

1.) Poor ocean conditions with reduced food supply

2.) Problems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, where young salmon run into pollution, water diversions and non-native predators on their migration to the sea. Studies have estimated only about 8% of young salmon released in the rivers survive to reach the ocean.

The big fight going on right now is the fight for water for fish or for farmers. The Governor has plans to establish more canals and damns for farmers in California which would surely harm the salmon population and lead to poorer environmental conditions.

To get involved in saving salmon and steelhead, go to

For further reading on the salmon run, click here.

January 19, 2010


Last week, Charles Clover, the author of The End of the Line, and Fish2Fork re-invented the choice to eat sustainable seafood. The new feature on their website has a rating system for seafood sustainability for restaurants in the US and UK. Now people can easily go to this website and find a restaurant in their area where they can eat sustainable seafood!

If you choose to go by area, you can check out some great and not so great places to eat in California, click here to find out.

There are a few restaurants in Monterey and San Francisco (Tataki Sushi, our favorite) on the website but there are no restaurants reviewed in the Santa Cruz area, so here are a few we know about that are very sustainable and are a part of the Seafood Watch program:

Aquarius Restaurant at the Dream Inn - 175 West Cliff Drive
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Café Mare - 740 Front Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

La Posta - 538 Seabright Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Michael's on Main - 2591 South Main Street
Soquel, CA 95073

Ristorante Avanti - 1711 Mission Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Soif Wine Bar and Restaurant - 105 Walnut Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Save Our Shores has had an idea for months about something like Fish2Fork has created, a rating system for not only restaurants but for grocery stores too.

If you would like to be involved in helping us rate our local grocery stores and restaurants in Santa Cruz county, please click here to download an easy score card that you can take to the store. Then send the cards back to Save Our Shores and we will put out a report in the local paper. It is time to get involved in sustainable seafood, before it is too late!

January 11, 2010

The results are in...and the winner is...PLASTIC!!!

For all of our cleanups year-round, Save Our Shores keeps detailed data for everything that we collect on the beaches and rivers. We keep track of every little thing we find from shopping carts to disposable cigarette lighters.

We just finished totaling up our data for this year and we wanted to share a little with you. Click here to view the graphs.

For beach cleanups in 2009 (129 cleanups) the top 5 items collected are:
#1: Cigarette Butts- 26,709
#2: Fireworks- 22,592
#3: Plastic pieces- 13,859
#4: Styrofoam pieces- 6,800
#5: Plastic Food Wrappers (chip bags or candy wrappers)- 6,185

River cleanups of 2009 (32 cleanups) the top 5 items are:
#1: Plastic Food Wrappers- 3,265
#2: Plastic Pieces- 2,336
#3: Cigarette Butts- 2,015
#4: Styrofoam Pieces- 1,615
#5: Plastic Bags- 1,468

See a recurring theme here?

Everything on those top 5 lists are all made out of plastic or have plastic components, like cigarette butts. Plastic does not biodegrade, it will be here forever! On our beaches, in our oceans and especially in our landfills.

But YOU can do something about it!

Remember this the next time you go to the beach or river, try not to bring plastic and start using re-usable bags and bottles. We need to kick this plastic habit, plastic needs a time out.

Click here to sign our Bring Your Own petition and pledge to use re-usable items instead of plastic.

January 7, 2010

Ever wonder how plastic affects marine animals?

We just got this picture from a local photographer, Terry McCormac, who saw this tragic scene in Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing. The sea otter pup is enclosed in a plastic bag and the mother is frantically trying to get the plastic bag off to save her pup.

This is one of the most shocking pictures we have ever seen of plastic entanglement with marine animals and is making us work even harder to get a plastic bag ban started in Santa Cruz. Click here to sign our petition for a plastic bag ban.

Just last month there was an article about 7 beached sperm whales in Italy who were killed by ingesting plastic. Click here for the full story.

Here at Save Our Shores we are working on the draft for the Santa Cruz city plastic bag ban, but it needs to go further than that. As a coastal state, we need a state-wide ban on plastic bags and it all starts with you! So tell your law makers to support a plastic bag ban and always bring your own bag to the store, plastic needs a time out.

January 5, 2010

Something is missing from this article...

"Consumers are shying away from eating tuna... We are very worried about the trend."

Really? Because we are ecstatic!! This recent article came out today on Yahoo News through the Associated Press and it talks about the concern for the Japanese economy because the sale of bluefin tuna is decreasing. Nowhere in this article do they mention that bluefin tuna is an ENDANGERED SPECIES!

"Apart from the falling demand for tuna, wholesalers are worried about growing calls for tighter rules amid declining fish stocks."

The truth is, many countries back a ban on fishing of these endangered species at least temporarily so the very dwindling stock can recover. The European Union (EU) proposed a ban in September of 2009 and 6 European countries blocked it.

Here are some clips from the movie The End of the Line with some interesting information about the bluefin tuna trade:

What do you think about this article and the bluefin tuna trade?