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April 18, 2018

10 ways to save the oceans this Earth Day

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Alexey Mhoyan


This Earth Day, be an ocean saver! After all, this big blue planet is mostly water with 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface located under the ocean. Saving the oceans can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, but if we all pitch in, we can make a big difference! Here’s how:  

1. Say no to single use plastics

Studies show that by 2050 our oceans will have more plastic than fish. Plastic is dangerous to wildlife and human health, leading to entanglement, ingestion, hormone disruption and habitat destruction. In fact, a sperm whale was recently found dead in Spain with 29kgs of plastic in its stomach.

Stop plastic at the source and help fight this global issue. Say no to single use plastics such as straws, plastic cutlery, coffee cups, water bottles, plastic bags and take-out food containers.

single use plastics pollution

Credit: David Bokuchava

2. Reduce your carbon footprint

Carbon dioxide, a notorious greenhouse gas, is making our oceans more acidic. This is causing the loss of corals on a global scale, as their calcium skeletons are weakened by the increasing acidity of the water.

There are many simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

• Ride a bike, walk or use public transportation rather than driving a car

• Put on a sweater in the winter instead of turning up your thermostat

• Have some fun with your diet – buy wild seafood. It is a renewable resource that requires minimal freshwater to produce and emits less carbon dioxide than land based proteins

coral reef carbon footprint

Credit: Oceana/Carlos Minguell

3. Eat sustainable seafood

Choose seafood that is healthy for you and the oceans.  

• Ask your local grocer or favourite restaurant where their seafood comes from, see if they buy from sustainable fisheries or look for the SeaChoice logo

• Look for wild caught fish certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and farmed fish approved by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Boat to plate traceability can help ensure consumers have the information they need to make sustainable choices. Support traceability in the seafood supply chain by helping Oceana Canada put a stop to seafood fraud and mislabelling. Sign our petition to show your support.

sustainable seafood

Credit: Oceana

4. Be aware of ocean policies in Canada and vote vote vote

Canadian fisheries and ocean ecosystems are in trouble. Only one third of fish stocks are considered healthy and 13 per cent are in critical condition. Canada is currently in the process of updating the Fisheries Act – one of our oldest pieces of legislation – to ensure depleted fish populations, such as cod, are rebuilt and have a chance to return.

Electing public officials that support good ocean policy can help us protect marine life. We encourage you to talk to elected officials in your community about policies that will protect oceans and rebuild fish populations. Exercise your right to vote and stay involved after Election Day.

fishing industry

Credit: Ken Wiedermann

5. Help sea life escape the net

Up to 10.3 million tonnes of sea life is unintentionally caught each year around the world, captured in nets, lines and other gear, resulting in the death of many endangered and threatened species such as whales, turtles, sharks and fish.

Unfortunately, the Canadian government isn’t consistently monitoring this threat, nor is it taking necessary action to address it. Sign our petition and call on Fisheries and Oceans Canada to take immediate action and help sea life escape the net.


Credit: Jeff Rotman

6. Get outside and explore Canada’s oceans

“People protect what they love.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Canada has the world’s longest coastline and is responsible for 2.76 million square kilometers of ocean. This Earth Day, we encourage you to get outside, explore and connect with our oceans. It might be too early to swim, but did you know surfing slush waves is a thing? If you don’t live near the ocean, visit your local lake or river and learn how your watershed connects to the ocean.

cold water surfing

Credit: Paul B

7. Pick up garbage and litter

Most of the plastic and debris found in the ocean has its beginnings as shoreline litter. As beach crowds increase, so does the amount of trash left behind or blown away. Don’t let your day outside contribute to the destruction of our oceans. Remember to collect your trash and volunteer in your community for local beach or shoreline cleanups.

beach cleanup

Credit: Surfrider Foundation Oregon

8. Buy ocean friendly products

There are many products directly linked to harming endangered or threatened species, unsustainable fishing methods and pollution. You can help by avoiding cosmetics that contain shark squalene or microbeads – a type of tiny plastic that ends up in our oceans. Avoid jewellery made of coral or sea turtle shells and remember to consider how your pet products can impact the oceans. Check the sustainability of pet food products and never flush cat litter.

Credit: Benoit Perrier

9. Share your ocean heroics with friends and family

Tell people what’s going on with the world’s oceans and what they can do to make a difference. Learn fun facts to share on our blog or Marine Life Encyclopedia and help spread the wonders of the ocean with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

humpback whale breaching

Credit: Paul Wolf

10. Join Oceana Canada

More than 550,000 members and e-activists in over 200 countries have already joined Oceana – the largest international organization focused 100 per cent on ocean conservation. Become an Oceana Canada Wavemaker and join us to help continue saving the oceans long after Earth Day. As a Wavemaker, you’ll receive monthly update on the latest ocean news and ways you can help protect the oceans.

leatherback sea turtle

Credit: Jolene Thompson