There are several small lifestyle choices you can make to help protect marine life and make a big difference for our oceans.
The ocean cover over 71 percent of our planet and are home to almost a million species, making it a vital source of food and income for over 800 million people globally. It also plays an essential role in controlling everything around us— from global weather patterns to food systems— making it our greatest resource here on earth.
However, in recent years, the effects of overfishing, climate change and pollution have taken a huge tool on our ocean, making the need for change more urgent than ever before.
Damage to coral reefs caused by global warming, as well as overfishing, could potentially cause a 30% decline in fish catch potential in Qatari waters by the end of the century, according to Research Assistant Professor at Qatar University Pedro Range.
To commemorate World Oceans Day, here is a list of lifestyle alterations you can do that can help preserve the ocean for future generations.
1- Use Fewer Plastic Products
Over 8 million tonnes of plastic gets dumped into the ocean each year, which destroys ecosystems and put marine life in great danger. Single use plastics, such as water bottles and take-out packaging, pollute the ocean and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year.
Using fewer plastics can play a significant role in protecting sea life, especially if a huge percentage of the population pays attention to plastic- consumption.
Instead, find better alternatives. Carry a reusable water bottle, use non-disposable containers to store food and use reusable shopping bags or tote whenever you go to the supermarket. Recycling whenever possible is also a good way of protecting the ocean.
2- Cut your emission
Climate change is one of the most greatest risks to the ocean. In the last half-a century alone, the ocean has absorbed 90% of excess heat created by burning fossil fuels. This makes the water more acidic and warmer, affecting fish, coral reefs and even changing how marine species reproduce.
Start by slowly reducing the effects of climate change by being conscious of your energy use whenever you go. A small contribution from everyone can go along way.
You can make a change by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, taking the stairs or leaving your car whenever you can.
3- Be mindful of where you shop
There are hundreds of products we end up purchasing because they look nice without actually thinking about whether they are harmful for the ocean and sea-life or not. Certain products, such as coral jewellery, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products, contribute to the harming of coral reefs and marine population.
Also, avoid cosmetics that contain shark squalene or souvenir shells of conchs, nautiluses and other animals. These products support unsustainable fishing and threaten important species in the ocean.
Always think “does this product exploit marine life?” before grabbing a cute starfish or shell related trinkets.
4- Be mindful of your seafood choices
Fishing is the biggest threat to marine biodiversity. In fact, around 94% of fish stocks are overfished. The fish population is being greatly depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices
This is not to say that fish should not be part of your diet. You can help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthy and sustainable from well managed sources.
5- Clean the ocean
A simple beach clean up trip with your friends can be highly beneficial to the ocean – and not forgetting, quite fun! Beach visitors often leave a lot of trash behind, most of which are plastics that can destroy marine life and surrounding animals. Cleaning the trash and recycling is a great way to contribute to saving marine life.
Whenever you go to beach, don’t forget to use as little plastic as possible, and always collect your trash and throw it in the bin or recycle it after you finish. It always helps to bring reusable water bottles, bags and straws with you instead of single-use plastics.