May Update for Grunion Greeters, 2017

A Message from Karen Martin, Ph.D., Pepperdine Professor of Biology

Greetings Grunion Greeters,

You have been doing a fantastic job! We have over 120 reports submitted so far, with comments from Imperial Beach all the way up to San Francisco Bay. Yes, after last year’s El Nino, the grunion are going strong in their usual spots in southern California and also making an appearance back in the San Francisco Bay after a hiatus of several years.

Ready for a close-up
Photo by Christopher Huynh

As you know the reports are made using the Walker Scale from 0 to 5. In March the median run was W0 and the highest was W4. In April and May, the median run was W2 and there were three W5’s reported, a great showing.

Grunion Greeter reports from early season 2017 are in line with past years. This is good news as the runs had apparently been declining in the previous seasons.

A W3 run extending far along the beach
Photo by Loni Adams

We had our Beach Ecology Coalition meeting May 18 at Dockweiler Beach in Los Angeles County. Beach workers from all over southern California attended and learned about the many facets of beach management on this multi-use urban beach including movie shoots, RV camping, and the first nests of Western Snowy Plovers in LA in over 70 (!) years.

The Beach Ecology Coalition at Dockweiler Beach, May 2017

June is the beginning of Open Season when take is permitted if adults 16 and up have a fishing license, use no gear of any kind, and take only what they plan to use. You are always encouraged to enjoy the runs by observing rather than disturbing the fish. We will hope to get reports from runs in early June and beyond to complete our picture of how the grunion are doing in 2017.

Grunion Greeters
Photo by Peter Vasquez

Grunion Greeters
Photo by Melissa Studer

Thanks again to the Grunion Greeters who bring eyes on the beaches and make this information accessible for resource managers and all the coastal agencies that work on beaches. You are making a difference!

And remember, even if you don’t see fish, it can still be pretty spectacular on a California beach at night.

Somewhere in California, 4 am
Photo by Dan Harding

May the fish be with you! See you on the beach.


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