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News Release

Coastal Coordination Program

In Defense of Animals

A virtual online public hearing is now confirmed for Thursday, December 16, at which the California Coastal Commission will determine whether or not to allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to use helicopters to scatter 1.5 tons of cereal bait laced with a powerful ecosystem poison onto the Southeast Farallon Island in the midst of the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

The public is invited to sign up to present brief online testimony at this virtual public hearing by visiting http://tinyurl.com/islandspeaker and clicking on agenda item 11b for Thursday, December 16.

What are known as “non-target” animals will inevitably also be slowly killed by the poison drop, and since Western Gulls fly back and forth to commute daily to the mainland, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has predicted that as many as 1,050 Western Gulls could be poisoned by their project. The Wildlife Service claims that this likely damage to the overall population of our region’s gulls would still enable their eventual recovery within a decade or two, but a former Fish and Wildlife official has predicted that as many as 3,000 gulls may die unnecessarily as a result of what is called “bykill”. 

In response to this poisoning proposal, Richard Charter, with the Coastal Coordination Program of The Ocean Foundation, said “This is a unique chance for the public to speak for protection of their coast and its wildlife. I am confident that those who care about our coast will take this convenient opportunity to weigh in on the inappropriateness of this dangerous anticoagulant poison being so casually spread around such a sensitive place.”

"The proposed poison drop would wreak havoc on the delicate Farallon Island ecosystem," said Lisa Levinson, of In Defense of Animals. "Scientific data indicates that Brodifacoum could remain in crabs and even the smallest living creatures. This deadly poison would become part of the food web, killing exponentially more animals than it could possibly save. We urge the California Coastal Commission to choose contraception over killing for the health and wellbeing of all Farallones animal residents.

“A large coalition of over 50 NGO’s, fishing organizations, and scientists concerned about impacts to ocean resources have signed onto a letter of opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service project to present to Coastal Commissioners and are asking for a safer, non-toxic alternative.” said Cea Higgins, Co-Founder of Save the Sonoma Coast.

“Brodifacoum will end up in the public's food chain via Chinook Salmon and Dungeness Crab,.” cautioned Frank Egger, president of the North Coast Rivers Alliance.

The Coastal Commission staff report on agenda item 11b on December 16 has now been posted and is available at https://www.coastal.ca.gov/meetings/agenda/#/2021/12, and a free download of an informative eBook on this controversy is now available at http://SanctuaryBook.org.

Related coverage:

'Extraordinarily old' Indigenous mortuary complex identified, under threat at Point Reyes and Farallon Islands, California