As ambassadors for the underwater world, we need to make sure issues like overfishing, marine debris and climate change aren’t ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Whenever you can, look for ways to share these important messages
1. If nothing changes, there’ll be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050
Marine debris, specifically plastic, kills over 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year. It’s also harmful to people. As plastic breaks down, through a process called bioaccumulation, our seafood can be contaminated with toxins which have been linked to Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Besides that, trash is just plain ugly!
2. Nearly a quarter of all shark species are on the brink of extinction
They’ve been around over 450 million years, but many shark populations have declined 80% from overfishing and habitat loss. Love them or hate them, we need sharks: they’re vital to a balanced ecosystem, boost local economies through tourism, and even inspire design and medical research. Plus, Jaws isn’t a fair portrayal of sharks — in fact the biggest ones only eat plankton!
3. We’re eating seafood faster than the ocean can replenish itself
90% of fisheries have been fully exploited or overfished, and at this rate, there’ll be no fish left within our lifetimes. Apart from the ocean’s health, this would also mean farewell to the fishing economy, seafood supplies, and coastal communities’ sources of food, jobs, and tourism.
4. Over half of the world’s coral reefs have disappeared in the last thirty years
The ocean absorbs almost a third of the CO2 we generate. If we don’t reduce our carbon footprint, the increasing water temperature and acidity could wipe out over 90% of coral reefs in one generation. That means no more homes for marine life, and no more barriers to protect coastlines.
5. Everyone can make a difference to ocean conservation
You don’t need to be a diver, marine biologist or politician to help save the ocean; the smallest actions by each person add up to create positive change for the future. Here are a few things anyone can do, even from home:
- Protect 30% of our ocean by 2030 with #WorldOceansDay
- Fundraise for, or donate to, Project AWARE or other marine organisations
- Get started with the PADI Coral Reef Conservation course
- Make sustainable seafood choices
- Plan holidays to eco-friendly destinations
- Boycott single-use plastic and sky lanterns
- Inspire kids with documentaries, shark crafts, and these conservation ideas
- Shop for greener products, like gifts, swimwear, and PADI Gear
- Reduce your carbon footprint
- Follow Project AWARE’s sharks and rays campaign, and sign the Divers4Makos petition
- Pledge to share these messages with five other people this month