June 8th is World Oceans Day, the UN-designated day for the global community to celebrate and take action for our shared ocean. Whether you’re on a coastal city or far inland, the water around
you ends up in the ocean downstream. The ocean is the great connector—no matter
what country you’re from, we’re all citizens of the ocean. The world is eating more seafood than ever, and
we’re pushing the ocean and its fish to the limit. According to the United
Nations, approximately two-thirds of ocean species are overfished, and some
types of commercial fishing catch up to seven times more unwanted fish than
Savor the seafood
Limit fish consumption to a few special
meals a month and choose species that are abundant and fished or farmed with
minimal harm to the surrounding environment. We can eat well and do good at the
Make ocean-friendly choices
Remember to eat locally
caught species when possible. For those in the US, check out the Monterey Bay
Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide or download
the Seafood Watch app to
find some sustainable seafood recommendations. You can also check out the
international WWF’s seafood guides for
Choose your fish wisely
Eating fish is generally healthy
but many fish species are contaminated with mercury and other pollutants.
Children and pregnant women, in particular, should be extra careful when
choosing seafood. Check KidSafeSeafood and be
Buy from ethical companies; ask your local grocers and chefs to do
Vote with your wallet by supporting companies that show a
real commitment to protecting the environment. Fish2Fork has a guide to
ethical restaurants in several countries, and visit FishChoice.com to link up
sustainable buyers and sellers.
Make your voice heard!
Tell your political
representatives that over fishing is an issue you can about, want them to act
on, and you will vote on. Sign petitions, weigh in with opportunities for public
comment, and email or write your representatives. You can also check out some
organized movements addressing over fishing such as WWF’s More Fish campaign
and Hugh’s Fish Fight! Take action
online and in your community to raise awareness!
Cut down on your meat consumption
As much a third
of the annual global catch is ‘forage
become fish meal—much of which is then used to raise cows, chickens and pigs in
factory farms, as well as some aquacultured species, like farmed salmon. By
cutting down on your meat consumption, you will reduce demand for these forage
fish which are a vital component of the complex oceanic food web.
Screen a fish film
Film is a great way to spread the word
about the over fishing problem. Consider showing a documentary
such as The End of the Line at home, in your
school, community center, or place of worship.
In honor of World Oceans Day, take action this June 8th and pledge to consume only sustainable seafood throughout the year.
© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
GEO 5 Report on Water, Marine Pollution and Fish Stocks
The Fifth Global Environmental Outlook Report
World Fisheries Day
Seven Ways to Save the Seas
World Oceans Day in America
Protect the US Clean Water Act
Report on the UN’s World Water Day Panel
Fisheries for Sustainable Fishers: Caribbean
The Costs of Offshore Drilling
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