John Edgar Fitch (1918-1982): Marine Biologist & Fisheries Biologist

Robert Jan "Roy" van de Hoek
Ballona Institute
322 Culver Blvd., Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293
(310) 821-9045
ŠNovember 11, 2010

The "life and times" of John E. Fitch (1918-1982) is worthy of research for understanding marine biology, paleontology, zooarchaeology, fish ecology, natural history, and biogeography of the Greater Historic Ballona Lagoon Ecosystem, both her uplands and wetlands, as well as her estuary, and river valley.

John Fitch investigated the paleontology of Ballona Lagoon in the 1960s. He investigated the fish of Los Angeles Coast. And he studied the clams of the California coast, including the Pismo Clam, which occurs in the Greater Historic Ballona Lagoon Ecosystem, most notably on the Ballona Beach of Playa del Rey and also Venice.

John Fitch is perhaps the finest example known of a government biologist at the California Department of Fish and Game, where he had a long career as a fisheries biologist, marine biologist, and editor of many publicatons of the Department.

There is much more to share with you in a future revision of this brief biography of a very fine naturalist and scientist of the Los Angeles County coast.

I recently discovered an interview that John Fitch had with a journalist of the San Luis Obispo Tribune newspaper, nearly a half century ago. He was interviewed about the Pismo Clam, and its plight, and precipitous slide toward extinction in California, due the popularity of this clam for food and for sheer recreation of capturing them. He wanted to conserve this species. His values of nature and wildlife to American society seem to fit the model of Ernest Callenbach on ecology. And I see clearly that John Fitch supported the wonderful science of ecology and natural history, including sustainability and ecosystems of planet Earth.