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7 things you can do to help save the ocean

Swimming in open water and a love of nature are two passions that go hand in hand. This is why practitioners of this sport tend to have one major concern in common: saving the ocean.

Swimming in open water and a love of nature are two passions that go hand in hand. This is why practitioners of this sport tend to have one major concern in common: saving the ocean.

With this in mind, the question we must ask ourselves is: What can we, as open water swimmers, do to protect our seas and oceans? In this article, we provide several suggestions for actions that you can take both individually and collectively with other swimmers. Some of these are small and easy to implement, and others require more time and perseverance.

USE FEWER PLASTIC PRODUCTS

It's not news to anyone that plastic is a major environmental problem affecting our oceans today. Plastic waste that ends up in the sea destroys habitats, killing thousands of marine animals every year, from the smallest fish to sea turtles, dolphins, and large whales.

What can you do to reduce plastic's impact? Some options include using reusable water bottles, storing food in reusable containers, or using reusable grocery bags when shopping. All with the goal of recycling and reusing products as much as possible, and saying no to plastic.

BUY SUSTAINABLE FISH

It is well known that mass fishing and harmful practices are causing a rapid decline in the world's fish population, as well as loss of their natural habitat.

Alarming statistics have come to light from recent studies, such as that of Natura Climate Change magazine, which concluded that 95% of the waste in the Mediterranean Sea comes from plastic. One example of the effect of plastics is loss of plant species such as Posidonia. This plant forms extensive underwater meadows covering the ocean floor, where more than 1,000 species of animals feed and reproduce.

The next time you make a purchase, choosing products that come from sustainable fishing is a great way to help combat overfishing which threatens species like cod, grouper, bluefin tuna, eels (up to 99% of European eels have been lost, according to Greenpeace), and salmon.

SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS THAT HELP CONSERVE THE OCEAN

Fortunately, there are many organizations fighting to save our oceans, marine habitats, and marine fauna, such as Whale & Dolphin Conservation, with which we at ORCA actively collaborate.

There are several options to choose from if you want to support an organization like this, either by donating to help support their activities financially or through volunteering and lending a hand in their field of work.

BE A FRIEND TO THE OCEAN

What does this mean? As an open water enthusiast, you know how important it is to avoid disrupting marine ecosystems. You can apply the same philosophy when you buy foods derived from the ocean to feed your family or your pets. Buy sustainably and pay attention to product labels to understand where your products come from.

Don't purchase fish for an aquarium that have been taken out of their natural habitat and, conversely, don’t release fish that have been raised in aquariums into the ocean. Doing this can introduce non-native species that can harm the existing ecosystem.

KEEP OUR BEACHES CLEAN

Going swimming, surfing or simply relaxing on the beach shouldn't cause any disturbance to the environment, so it is important to leave the beach just as clean, or cleaner, than you found it. For example, don't bring any plastic to the beach that could blow away, don't smoke on the beach, don't climb on the dunes or use them as shelter in case of wind, only utilize marked access points to reach the beach, and avoid walking in protected areas.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR COMMUNITY

While it may be difficult for an individual to make changes in public environmental policies, together, a community of people can more realistically make an impact. Sea enthusiasts can join forces to lobby for more marine conservation projects or research local representatives to find out what they are doing to protect the oceans.

Even on an individual level, you can still patronize food stores and restaurants that have sustainable fish products in stock or on their menus.

STAY INFORMED ABOUT THE OCEAN AND MARINE LIFE

It cannot be overstated that all life on Earth is connected in some way to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more informed you are about problems facing this vital ecosystem, the more you can help in its conservation and encourage others to do the same.

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