12 Ways To Protect The Ocean And Marine Life (That Works!)
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You probably just finished watching the “Seaspiracy” documentary, and you’re asking yourself:
“How can I help protect the ocean?”
Or maybe you haven’t seen the film yet, but you learned from the news, social media, and various ocean conservation groups that the ocean needs saving from pollution, plastic waste, and other catastrophic issues.
Regardless of what pushed you into doing something about the ocean crisis, you are in the right place.
In this article, you will learn 12 simple and highly actionable tips on how you can significantly impact the welfare of our seas and ocean.
We take into consideration the fact that each of us is living different lifestyles and have varying principles.
So, browse through the 12 different ways to protect the ocean below, and feel free to apply the ones suitable to you.
Let’s “dive” right in.
12 Ways You Can Help Save The Ocean
1. Consume less commercially sold fish
There is an overfishing crisis going on in our oceans.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) said so in their response to the highly controversial Netflix documentary Seaspiracy.
Overfishing means too many fish are taken out in the ocean in a short period of time that they can’t replenish their population.
This unsustainable way of fishing drives some fish species into depletion and even near extinction, causing dangers in marine ecosystems and affecting ocean life balance.
According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species, around 24% of fish species in the ocean are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.
Furthermore, many people didn’t know that the most catastrophic damages in the ocean and marine life are not caused by straws, toothbrushes, and bottles made of plastic. (although they are also top contributors)
Can you guess the culprit?
How is the fishing industry harming the ocean?
The commercial fishing industry has a far more significant impact on the destruction of the ocean.
From destructive fishing practices (like bottom trawling), carbon emissions from marine vessels, and the plastic waste pollution (specifically from plastic fishing nets).
Hence, reducing your and your family’s fish consumption means less demand for commercial fish.
When businesses are not making much profit in the fishing industry since their is less demand for fish, some businesses will eventually need to change trades.
And with fewer fleets of fishing ships cruising the ocean, nearly depleted fish species will have a chance to recuperate, maybe even return to their once abundant state.
We know we sound like a dreamer and we’re possibly talking about an idea that might not become a reality,
But if we don’t do anything to save the ocean and the marine environment, sources estimate that there will be no more fish and seafood by 2048.
Now you might say:
Isn’t it simpler if people would just stop eating fish?
Stop the demand, as many would say.
That is actually a valid point.
No demand for fish, no commercial fishing businesses.
Unfortunately, not eating fish might be an option for some of us, especially for those who have the resources to change their diet whenever they want.
But let’s not forget that many people all over the world can’t do that.
Millions of people can only eat fish that they catch themselves, or else they will starve.
And you may find it hard to believe but many people in Asia, Africa, and other places relies on fishing as their sole source of income.
Take it away from them and they might not be able to feed their families.
But what do you think?
We would like to hear your thoughts on the comment section below.
2. Protect the ocean by disposing face masks responsibly
Face masks? What do face masks have to do with protecting the ocean?
Unfortunately, disposable face masks already have their fair share of polluting our oceans.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, tons of discarded single-use face masks have been found in coastlines and the sea.
Improperly discarded disposable face masks have a terrible negative impact on the environment and the ocean.
They can harm marine animals as they can become a source of microplastic fibers.
Experiments show that microplastics can harm marine animals.
They can block digestive tracts and cause a reduction in an animal’s food intake due to false satiation – resulting in malnutrition and even starvation.
Moreover, microplastic can reach our plates when a fish that ingest it is caught and sold in the market.
So instead of getting omega-3 from the fish you eat, you unknowingly feed your body plastic.
3. Don’t bring any plastic on the beach
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…
The most common plastic trash in the ocean are food wrappers, bottles, bottle caps, straws, cups, take-out food containers, and grocery bags.
If you notice, these plastic wastes are what most people take with them when they go to the beach.
So the next time you and your family decide to take a dip in the sea, avoid taking any plastic with you.
In fact, you can make your trip to the beach an eco-friendly activity by bringing a trash bag and pick up any trash you can find before you go home.
Wouldn’t that make your beach experience more memorable?
4. Start using a bamboo (or non-plastic) toothbrush
Do you want to help protect the ocean? Stop using a plastic toothbrush.
Every year, tons of plastic toothbrushes are found in the ocean and the coastline.
As you may already know, plastic takes hundreds of years to decompose.
Hence, plastic toothbrushes can remain floating in the sea for a very long time.
Marine animals might mistake them for food or accidentally ingest them, causing irreversible health issues and even death.
As an alternative, start using ocean-friendly toothbrushes made of bamboo or wood.
5. Save the ocean by not using plastic straws
Like other plastic trash in the ocean, plastic straws can be a microplastic source, a known health hazard to marine animals and even humans.
Fortunately, average people like us can do something to help.
You can start by getting yourself a reusable straw that you can carry with you.
If you don’t have one yet, you can request biodegradable straws whenever you eat in restaurants or fast-food chains.
Better yet, don’t use any straw at all.
This may sound so simple, and it might not fix all the ocean problems right away.
Nevertheless, every solution needs to start somewhere.
And when it comes to protecting the ocean, every small thing counts.
To give you some numbers, if all the people in the US decide not to use plastic straws, even just for one day, that is 500 million fewer drinking straws used!
And that is in the US alone.
You can only imagine how much bigger that number would be if all seven billion people on Earth would completely stop using plastic straws.
And it all starts with you.
6. Get reusable water bottle and tumbler
Plastic bottles and bottle caps are among the most common plastic trash in the ocean.
By investing in a reusable water bottle or tumbler, you effectively reduce your negative impact on the ocean.
You can also avoid using plastic takeaway caps, many of which end up in the ocean.
Moreover, reusable water bottles and tumblers can help you save money when you’re going for a jog, a hike, or a trip.
Because instead of buying bottled water and beverages, you can simply bring your own.
Speaking of travel…
7. Practice responsible and zero waste travel
Making as little environmental impact during your travels can also help save the ocean.
Because the fact is, the waste and trash we create in our trips can eventually find their way to the ocean.
For instance, taking a shampoo bar and other plastic free bathroom products on a trip can help you avoid buying bathroom essentials at your destination.
This is very important considering many bathroom products for sale in stores come in single-use plastic.
You can also prepare snacks for the trip.
You can put them in reusable containers so you won’t have to spend money and create plastic waste from bottled drinks and food wrappers along the way.
8. Avoid buying seasonal or holiday-related items
Unless you really have to, don’t buy decors and clothing whenever holidays like Halloween, Christmas, Easter, or St. Patrick’s Day come.
Did you know that in the UK alone, Halloween costumes and decorations generate around 2,000 metric tons of plastic waste every year?
The same thing can be said for other holidays and many of these holiday-created plastic waste eventually ends up in the ocean.
But we understand that many people (including us) are very passionate about celebrating holidays.
So check out our other articles for smart and frugal tips in how to celebrate a more eco-friendly Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and other holidays.
9. Use ocean-friendly personal care and cleaning products
Many cleaning and personal care products contain ingredients that you must avoid because they can harm the ocean and your health.
- Optical brighteners are ingredients often used on detergents that can irritate your skin and can cause eutrophication (irregular algae growth) that suffocates fish and marine organisms.
- Chlorine or bleach is a caustic chemical toxic to human beings and marine organisms.
- Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is a foaming agent that is a skin irritant and is toxic to marine organisms.
- Triclosan is an antibacterial ingredient that is highly toxic to different types of algae and marine organisms.
- Phosphates are water-softening minerals that are hazardous to human beings and marine life.
- Parabens can seep into the skin, disrupt hormone function, and are linked to developing breast cancer. And if it makes it to the ocean, it can also kill corals.
So, if the typical personal care and cleaning products contain ingredients that can harm the ocean, what should you use then?
Click here for some of the best sustainable bathroom and eco-friendly home cleaning products to consider.
10. Donate to organizations protecting the ocean and marine environment
You are far from alone when it comes to saving our oceans.
Many organizations like Sea Shepherd, Oceana, and Ocean Conservancy are currently taking the necessary steps to protect the ocean and marine life.
You can also help save the ocean by donating to organizations with the same goal – both international and local.
Your financial support would boost these ocean protection organizations’ capabilities to combat ocean pollution and protect marine ecosystems.
But before you make your donation, make sure to visit and vet the ocean protection organization’s website to get familiar with their ethos.
11. Volunteer for beach and ocean cleanup activities
Keep an eye for any ocean and beach cleanup activities near you.
If you have the time, go with your fellow environmentalist to take out trash from the ocean.
You can also do this on your own or with your family, especially if you live near the coastline.
Once a week, take a stroll on the beach and pick up any trash you can find.
You’ll be surprised how this simple practice can have a positive impact on our oceans.
Moreover, other people might notice your good doing, and you can create ripples in your community that help save and protect our oceans.
12. Share this with other people
You doing something to help protect the ocean is nothing less than noble.
We commend you for making it at this point, as it shows you are serious about finding ways to protect the ocean.
But what would make protecting the ocean even more manageable is to give other people the chance to extend a helping hand as well.
Share this with them, and together, we can help protect the ocean.
You can become an instrument so that more people can find simple yet effective ways in how to save the ocean.
Final Thoughts on Protecting the Ocean
There are many reasons why we need to save the ocean.
Scientists estimate that 50-80% of the oxygen production on Earth comes from the ocean.
This means that if we let the ocean get destroyed, we basically lost our primary oxygen generator.
Moreover, the ocean is also a source of food and livelihood for many people around the world.
And with this article, we hope you now have plenty of ideas on how you can help protect and save the ocean.
And although we might have varying opinions on the best way to protect the ocean, we are all fighting for the same cause.
We may not be in the same boat, but we are all in the same storm.
Anyways, what do you think is the best solution to the current ocean crisis?
And what’s your take on the Seaspiracy documentary?
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below.