Two BIG ways you can help our oceans this summer

Two BIG ways you can help our oceans this summer

#Act for the Wild, #Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Posted on 22nd December 2017 by Media Relations

This planet should really be called ‘Ocean’ instead of ‘Earth’.

The oceans cover more than 70% of the globe’s surface. They not only provide habitat to thousands of incredible species, but billions of people rely on the ocean for their livelihoods. The sea is essential to our survival. They provide us with more than half of the oxygen we breathe, and absorb harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

But our oceans are under threat. Climate change, overfishing and plastic pollution are placing huge pressure on the big blue. Fortunately however, there are actions we can take every day to ensure our oceans are thriving with life for generations to come.

Help ensure there are plenty more fish in the sea

The sea was once believed to be a never-ending source of food, but research has shown this is not the case. More than 90% of the world’s fisheries are overfished or fished to capacity.

Seafood provides over one billion people with not only protein, but their livelihoods. To ensure there are fish for the future, it’s important that we’re making the right choices when buying seafood.

Knowing where and how your fish has been caught can be tricky. But by looking for the Marine Stewardship Council’s blue ecolabel on products, you know immediately that the seafood you’re about to buy has been sourced and caught sustainably.

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the world’s leading sustainable seafood eco-certification program. They work with individual fisheries to ensure their practices are sustainable and transparent. Fisheries must have sustainable fish stocks, and manage their environmental impacts effectively to gain certification.  As long as a fishery isn’t practicing destructive fishing methods (such as dynamite fishing) or shark finning, they are eligible to apply.

The Marine Stewardship Council does not actually certify the fisheries, but sets the high standards that need to be met in order to receive certification. Once a fishery believes they’ve met these standards, a third party steps in to assess them. 

The enormous amount of work and individual steps that are all part of a fishery gaining certification results in a little blue eco-label being slapped on a product, so all you have to do when you head to the supermarket is keep an eye out for this label to know you’re choosing sustainable seafood.

The certification program is global, and their products are available in retail outlets throughout the world. Find your next sustainable seafood meal by clicking here.

Say ‘see-ya’ to single-use plastic

In 1950, we were producing 1.7 million tonnes of plastic annually. Today, that figure has increased to a whopping 300 million tonnes of plastic. Majority of it never breaks down, and 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in our oceans every year.

The biggest thing we can do to help reduce the amount of plastic making its way into the ocean, is to prevent it entering our waterways in the first place. Plastic is durable, which is why it is such a great material. Simultaneously, herein lies why it is also such a prolific issue.

Single-use plastics are items used just once. It just doesn’t make sense to use something that lasts forever, for a mere moment.

There are some simple changes we can make every day to tackle this issue, and it starts with refusing the ‘big 4’ – plastic water bottles, bags, straws and take-away coffee cups.

Buy a re-usable coffee cup and take it to your local cafe rather than using a take-away cup. Some coffee shops even offer discounts to people who BYO mug. Say ‘no’ to straws when purchasing a smoothie or juice, or carry your own stainless steel or glass straw with you.

Learning about the issues impacting our ocean can be overwhelming. But instead of feeling defeated, feel empowered! There are small changes you can make every day that have a hugely positive impact on our oceans.

At Taronga, we believe that wildlife and people can share this planet. But right now, wildlife globally is under threat and they need your help more than ever. Find out more about how you can take action for our oceans.