Santa Monica to Post Warnings About Eating Fish From Bay

The Santa Monica City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to place signs along the Santa Monica Pier warning fishermen that eating the fish from the Santa Monica Bay may pose some health risks.

The council asked the staff to prepare the signs in Spanish and English.

The council has also asked the staff to monitor studies being conducted by state and county health departments in connection with the growing controversy over the possible contamination of the bay.

Last month, Dr. H. W. Puffer, a pathologist at the USC School of Medicine, released a study showing significant levels of toxic chemicals in the bay. Those findings have been disputed by other researchers.

A task force has been formed, as the result of legislation sponsored last year by Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica), to study how the pollution has affected sport fishing in the bay.

Hayden also chairs an Assembly task force that is investigating how regulators allowed the operation for several years of a toxic waste dump off Santa Catalina Island in which millions of tons of wastes were reportedly dumped.

Council members said that they did not want to be "alarmist," but said that it was important to let people know that eating fish from the bay may pose some health risks.

"There may or may not be anything dramatically unhealthy in the bay," said Councilman Ken Edwards. "I don't see anything wrong about making a calm, straightforward statement."

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