1. Get people to buy sustainable seafood
The oceans are overfished. Our consumption is not sustainable. Species collapse is happening in oceans around the world. We can create a true shift to sustainable seafood and still eat the things we love — it doesn’t require giving up all seafood. We just have to make the right choices at the grocery store and at restaurants.
Our current consumption rate is causing fish populations to crash. It also hurts the marine ecosystems that provide us many other things, from oxygen to jobs and recreation. Eating more sustainably harvested seafood is critical for fishermen, consumers, fish, and a future that has any seafood at all.
Yes. There are many sustainable fisheries. We can get consumers — all of us — to understand the issue and change our habits. If we let the economics drive the solution we can have great seafood and ecological balance at the same time.
By raising awareness of an issue too many people do not know about, we will inspire people to eat sustainable seafood. We promote tools like the Seafood Watch Guide to help people understand the impact of what they eat, and engage their local restaurants and grocery stores to make change happen.
2. Reduce plastic pollution
There are tons and tons of plastic in the ocean. It breaks down into smaller pieces, but never goes away. Marine animals eat it and become sick or die. It also entangles and injures them, making it difficult to swim or fly. Unknown numbers of animals die this way each year, and the toxins are beginning to make their way into our food stream.
Be selfish for a moment. Forget all the seabirds, turtles, seals, sharks and other species already threatened that are dying from plastic in their habitat. Forget about the added pressure this puts on ecosystems already in decline. The plastic is entering our food stream through the sea life we eat. The breaking down of plastic into toxins that are then ingested by fish and other ocean species sends toxins up the food chain, impacting your dinner plate.
Yes. There are tons of easy ways to use less plastic every day.
- You know the top on that to-go cup of coffee you use every single morning? It’s plastic. Bring your own mug.
- Don’t buy bottled water. Bring your own reusable bottle, and refill it.
- Use less packaging by buying in bulk, choose products with less wasteful packaging, and choose containers that are non-plastic (glass, wood, paper, aluminum, etc.).
Using less plastic is amazingly easy when you look closer.
The first step is awareness, so we will bring attention to plastic pollution through our media campaign. Second, we will encourage people to reduce the amount of plastic they use, by using cloth bags when they shop, and limiting the use of things like straws, utensils, water bottles, to-go cup lids, and disposable packaging. Third, we will provide tools for people to use in their community to create public awareness of plastic waste.
3. Expand ocean protected areas to 10% of our oceans
In addition to market-driven solutions, we need legal protections to protect vulnerable ocean habitats. Less than 2% of the ocean is protected, compared with 12% of our land resources, yet the ocean makes up 71% of the planet.
There are many forms of protection. National marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas, world heritage marine sites and national monuments are all ways to provide some form of legal protection that regulates what can be done there in terms of fishing, boating, and other forms of access. They go by various names depending on where they are located, and what degree of protection they have. The purpose of an ocean protected area is the long-term conservation of specific marine ecosystems. They are the national parks of the ocean, equal to Yosemite or the Grand Canyon in beauty, biological richness and protections, but underwater.
Since we depend on the ocean for oxygen, food, jobs, and recreation, ocean protected areas impact you personally by ensuring your ocean is healthier. Numerous marine areas have shown significant rebounds in species diversity and population levels within five to ten years after gaining protections, actually boosting things like fishing and ecotourism. The preservation of critical marine habitats ensures that you have all the benefits the ocean provides.
Yes. The Convention on Biological Diversity signed by 193 countries recently passed a declaration to pledge to protect 10% of all marine areas by 2020. This goal has international support, but we need to make sure it actually happens. Policy makers really listen to public comment on marine protected areas — your opinion counts here, and together, we have a pretty loud voice.
Our films and other media projects promote the success of ocean protected areas, and help people understand their importance. At no cost, we’ll provide top-notch film footage and photos from existing and potential marine reserves for our NGO partners and other organizations to use in their campaigns.
We will encourage people to sign petitions on our website and support our NGO partners’ campaigns to create new marine protected areas. We will encourage people to learn more about these protected areas and visit them when possible.