Our oceans and marine life are threatened as never before. The reason is not only climate change. It is also due to the large amount of harmful waste that we are pouring into the oceans, as well as the overfishing that is dangerously threatening marine life safety. Species of fish are in danger of extinction, coral reefs are being destroyed, sea birds are endangered, and pollution is affecting entire oceans and marine creatures that live far down into the depths of the sea.
It might seem that you can do nothing to stop this seemingly inexorable destruction of large tracts of our ocean life. But you can play your part in saving marine life. Although each act you perform might seem relatively small on its own, the total impact can have a profoundly beneficial effect.
Here are 10 saving marine life tips to consider, particularly if you live in an area that is close to an ocean or rivers that flow into the sea.
1) Limit your use of plastic products
Plastics that end up in the sea kill tens of thousands of marine creatures each year, often by entangling them. You can help to keep plastics away from the sea where possible, but an even better practice is to cut down on your personal use of plastics. Refill your plastic water bottle, ask for paper rather than plastic bags when shopping (or bring your own container) and recycle as much as you can.
It can help to cut up plastic rings from six-packs just in case they should happen to land in the sea one day and trap a bird or a fish.
2) Clean up litter
Any litter, whether plastic or not, can end up in the ocean and pose a danger to marine life. Even if it is some way off the sea and you think there is no way it can possibly reach there, there is still a chance it can do so. A heavy downfall of rain, for example, can send water rushing into gutters where it will be carried long distances, eventually reaching the sea.
3) Maintain your car regularly
Poorly maintained cars can cause oil to spill onto roadways. The oil is washed down into the storm water drains and often goes down to the sea. Car owners can play their part in saving marine life by ensuring that their cars do not drop oil.
They can also avoid washing their cars in the driveway or anywhere that the runoff can end up in the ocean or river. Check out the storm drains in your area; they often indicate whether runoff washes into the sea.
Of course, never pour your used auto oil into the storm drain system. It’s best to recycle your old oil which you can do for free.
4) Avoid storm water pollution
It’s not only oil from cars that can wash off the roadways, gutters, and sidewalks into the storm water drains that run to the sea. Pesticides sprayed on plants close to the roadway, paint, and other poisons can also run into the sea and cause extensive damage to marine life. Even regular trash can have polluting qualities and take many years to break down in the ocean.
So it is important not to dump anything on the street that can go into the storm drains. Even if the drain goes to a river or a creek, it will eventually reach the ocean.
5) Be responsible when boating
Whether you own a boat or are a passenger on a boat, be aware of the impact on marine life of anything you throw overboard. Plastic bags, spoons, and forks, for example, can harm sensitive marine life. It’s always best to keep all the garbage on board and to discard it on land in a container where you can be sure that won’t end up in the sea or river.
Cruise ship passengers might want to stop and think twice before tossing items overboard.
Should you enjoy kayaking and canoeing, bear in mind that items can easily be washed into the sea from your vessel before you can stop them from doing so. Either strap them down or consider whether you should be taking them with you in the first place.
6) Consider your impact on the ocean as a pet owner
You might think that owning a dog or a cat does not harm the ocean. But there are several aspects of pet ownership to consider. Flushing cat litter, for example, can have a detrimental impact on marine life. Pet food sometimes contains seafood that is unnecessary for your pet’s health but takes away from attempts to cut down on consumption of some species of seafood.
7) Support organizations that aim to save marine life
There are several ways that you can assist organizations that are fighting for marine life safety. You can volunteer, provide donations, or pass on the messages to others. In this way, you will be going the extra mile in ensuring the future preservation of marine life.
8) Make wise seafood choices at restaurants
Next time you eat at your favorite seafood restaurant, check out the items on the menu that are not popular varieties of fish but are nevertheless healthy and tasty. By choosing these items, you will be helping to save the popular fish varieties that are being overfished because of high demand. Take note that fishing grounds for most of these species are slowly depleting.
9) Avoid products that exploit marine life
Marine populations are harmed by the sale of jewelry made from coral and accessories made from turtles and sharks. The demand for these items means that they are more sought after and the marine life is more heavily exploited.
To help save marine life, refrain from buying products such as these.
10) Take care of the beach
When you see trash on the beach, pick it up and make sure it is correctly discarded. Better yet, join one of the crews that regularly conduct beach clean-up so that every piece of garbage is collected before it can get picked up by the next high tide and washed into the sea. If such a clean-up crew does not exist on your favorite beach, perhaps you should start one.
A particularly dangerous form of litter is a used fishing line, which if thrown in the water, can twist around birds and marine creatures and kill them.
Do your bit and the sea will thank you
By putting into practice these saving marine life tips you will be playing your part in preserving a heritage that can be enjoyed not only by you but also by your children and their descendants. After all, the oceans not only play an important role in the natural cycle, they also can be life-sustaining for many people.