On World Oceans Day, Five Steps You Can Take to Help Protect the Oceans | Oceana
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World Oceans Day

A shoal of sardines at Panagsama Beach, Moalboal, Philippines.

Photo Credit: (Photo: © Steve De Neef)

Today marks World Oceans Day, a time to celebrate our oceans and raise awareness for the threats facing these precious marine resources. World Oceans Day, officially recognized by the United Nations, has occurred annually since 2002 and is helping to build a movement for ocean conservation. This year’s theme, “healthy oceans, healthy planet,” is especially resonant for Oceana as we work to promote healthy oceans through several campaigns, such as  preventing offshore drilling and restoring ocean abundance through sustainable fisheries management. Our aim is to ensure that the oceans remain healthy and abundant for generations to come.

Here’s how you can help protect the oceans on World Oceans Day and every day of the year:

1. Seek out honestly-labeled seafood

Did you know that the seafood on your plate may not always be what it seems? Through our investigations, Oceana continues to find seafood fraud — the practice of mislabeling seafood including swapping out one species of seafood for another — around the country, including in shrimpcrab cakes and fish. Always ask your seafood provider or server questions about what fish it is, where and how your seafood was caught. And look for traceable seafood that tracks your meal from the fishing boat to your dinner plate. Click here to learn more about seafood fraud and Oceana’s work to ensure all seafood sold in the United States is safe, legally caught and honestly labeled.

2. Eat well-managed, local seafood

Artisanal fisheries in the Philippines. (Photo: OCEANA / Jenn Hueting)

Often, the seafood on your dinner plate may be caught with fishing gear, like longlines or drift gillnets, and results in bycatch, the unintentional killing of non-target fish and ocean wildlife.

Oceana CEO Andy Sharpless’ book, “The Perfect Protein,” which is now available on Amazon.com and in multiple different languages, can help consumers learn more about well-managed seafood and the benefits of eating small forage fish or shellfish. And as stated in “The Perfect Protein,” there are three simple steps to choosing sustainable seafood: “Choose wild seafood. Not too much of the big fish. Mostly local.” Additionally, to help make smart seafood choices at the grocery store or while eating out, keep the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide handy.

3. Help protect marine wildlife

There are simple ways you can take action to protect iconic marine life whether you’re out boating or walking along the beach:

  1. Always properly dispose of your trash and clean up after yourself on the beach. Many marine animals ingest trash (like sea turtles mistaking plastic bags for a tasty jellyfish), or become entangled it — especially fishing line, plastic bags, soda rings and more.
  2. Never feed wildlife — this can make them aggressive around people, become malnourished or dependant on people for food.
  3. Be mindful of ocean wildlife when boating and settling anchors. Not only can boat propellers injure or harm marine life like sea turtles, manatees, or whales, but placing anchors on sensitive habitat like coral reefs or seagrass beds can damage nursery and feeding habitat.

Check out previous Oceana blog posts on helping sea turtles and other marine wildlife for more tips, and you can learn more about specific species through Oceana’s Marine Encyclopedia.

A green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) comes up for a breath at Apo Island, Philippines. (Photo: © Steve De Neef)

4. Help support Oceana

Even if you don’t live near the ocean, you can still help push for positive change and sound policy decisions by signing Oceana’s petitions or becoming a Wavemaker with Oceana — every voice matters! Right now, Oceana has several live petitions, calling for action on eliminating dirty drift gillnets and urging Congress to vote for legislation that supports healthy oceans. Furthermore, you can donate to Oceana and help us win science-based policy victories for the oceans.

5. Spread the word!

Help educate others about ocean conservation and simple steps that they can take to protect the oceans, and be sure to join the conversation and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with other Oceana supporters about protecting this shared resource — and tell your friends and family to do the same! Oceana could not win concrete victories for the oceans without the support of ocean advocates like you!