What is marine conservation
(and how can you get involved)?
Simply put, marine conservation means protecting and preserving the ocean and its inhabitants. And oh boy, does the ocean need our help now more than ever. Maybe you’ve seen news reports about coral bleaching, or the devastating effect of shark finning. Perhaps you’ve gone to the beach recently and found it covered in rubbish, or heard about marine creatures being found with their bellies full of plastic.
If you want to do something to help the ocean but just don’t know where to start, then Sea Fans can help. Introducing our guide to getting involved in marine conservation. There are five steps to follow and before you know it this planet will be an even better place because of you.
Learn about the ocean
The simplest way to start getting involved in marine conservation is to learn more about the ocean. It covers more than two thirds of the planet, yet we’ve only explored a fraction of it. It’s home to some of the most amazing creatures, and thousands of equally amazing ones that haven’t been discovered yet.
The little we do know about the ocean, is enough to tell us it’s in danger. There are several major threats to the ocean, such as plastic, pollution and over-fishing. Take the time to learn how big an impact we are having on the ocean and what you can do to help.
From talks to documentaries, and from books to apps, there are so many great resources available to help you learn about the ocean. A big part about learning is sharing your knowledge with friends and family. There is still great hope for the ocean, but only if we all become wise to our behaviours and be encouraged to take action…
Take Action for the Ocean
Never underestimate the power that one person has to make a difference. There are people fighting for a cleaner, healthier ocean right this minute. From organising beach and ocean cleans, to lobbying governments for stricter laws to protect the ocean. Some are running campaigns to ban single-use plastic, others are working to set up marine protected areas.
These people need support and it’s one of the easiest ways you can take action for the ocean today. Sign their petitions, join their campaigns, spread the word on social media. Who knows, with your new-found knowledge of the ocean you might even be inspired to start your own campaign.
There are personal changes you can make to start living a more ocean-friendly life. Who really needs a plastic bag? They ultimately end up in the ocean, as well as drinking straws, the lids of coffee cups… the list goes on. Search out plastic-free alternatives, make wise seafood choices, cut down on meat, join in with a beach clean, reduce, reuse, recycle… live by example and the world will soon catch up.
Consumers have a great power. Use your weekly shop to reward companies that support marine conservation by choosing their products over others. Look for household cleaners that are green and sun creams that won’t harm coral reefs. Hand soaps that come in recycled plastic bottles. Buy clothes from companies who donate profits to ocean charities or look for ways to cut down on plastic-use.
What about the vast amount of waste already in the ocean? There are many resourceful people turning it into all sorts of things. From clothes and trainers made from recycled plastic to jewellery and homewear from fishing nets. Just think, every purchase you make from an ocean-friendly seller is a bit more rubbish taken out of the ocean (or a bit less going in).
Why not buy from marine conservation-focused organisations? When you do a percentage goes back into funding ocean campaigns. Buying a present for someone (or yourself) has now become a way to actively help the ocean.
Up until now, we’ve highlighted ways you can help the ocean without going anywhere near it. But where’s the fun in that? The ocean is an amazing place, so why not dive in? After all, the more people who experience what the ocean has to offer, the more people will want to protect it.
There are countless day trips run by people who genuinely care about the ocean. They’ll allow you the chance to experience the thrill of witnessing nature’s greatest creatures in their world, without causing them harm or distress.
Better yet, get in the water. Snorkelling is the simplest way to do this, or you could give scuba diving or freediving a go. The feeling of being underwater is unlike no other and you get to be face-to-face with these technicolour creatures.
For those of you who are already divers, then choose to dive responsibly. Ensure your buoyancy is good. Adopt a no touching policy and encourage others to do the same. Choose dive centres with green credentials, and who show respect for the underwater world. Join in with reef clean ups, or coral nursery maintenance. Report marine life sightings to worldwide databases. You can make every dive count towards ocean protection.
Volunteer in Marine Conservation
The final way you can get involved in marine conservation is to volunteer. There are hundreds of opportunities across the globe that will allow you to get hands-on with your favourite marine creatures and make a difference to their survival. Anyone can volunteer in marine conservation, it’s just a question of finding the right marine conservation project for you.
There are a huge variety of projects available. You can gather data on the health of coral reefs or ensure baby turtles make it to the ocean. How about monitoring whale sharks or penguins, or spend time looking after sick manatees? From replanting mangroves to building artificial reefs, there’s a huge world of projects out there.
What’s more, you don’t need a marine biology degree to join (or any experience at all for that matter). You just need a passion for protecting the ocean and its inhabitants. It’s called citizen science and it’s one of the best means we currently have to protect the ocean. You can join in and make a difference to the ocean today.
So, there you have it.
From zero to a marine conservation hero in just
5 easy steps.
Sea Fans is full of ideas and ways to help the ocean, and we’re adding more every day. Why not search and see?
If you have an ocean-friendly idea, product, campaign, experience or project that you think should be on Sea Fans, then please get in touch. It’s free after all.