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11 Things You Can Do To Reduce Your Impact on the Ocean

One of the things that first attracted so many visitors to Catalina Island: its underwater gardens. Packed with bright orange Garibaldi, copious kelp, and plenty of other sea life, the ocean is certainly something worth protecting. Fortunately, there are local organizations like the Catalina Island Conservancy that work to save the land and sea around Catalina. However, visitors and locals alike can take part in reducing human impact on our beautiful oceans.

1.) Respect marine life. In the stretch of the Pacific Ocean from Dana Point to Catalina Island, you might be lucky enough to see a fluke or a fin of a majestic blue whale. Beneath the blue ocean water’s surface is a whole world of wildlife that we might not always consider. Respecting marine life means not throwing your trash in the ocean or leaving litter on the beach, but it also means learning how animals and plant life in our seas are threatened by environmental changes, toxins, and other issues that are caused by humans.

2.) Conserve water. Water is a precious resource, and freshwater use on land can affect the quality of water in our oceans. By practicing some basic water conservation habits, we can help save marine life and coastal ecosystems. Turning off the tap, installing low-flow showerheads and faucets, and limiting landscape irrigation can all help protect our oceans.

3.) Understand MPAs. MPAs are Marine Protected Areas. Catalina Island is home to these special spaces like Lover’s Cove and the Casino Point Dive Park. These areas are safe havens for ocean life, and they help ecosystems to thrive. Because the marine life is protected, there is limited recreation, but no fishing in these areas.

4.) Fish responsibly. Many citizens around the world depend on fish as a primary source of protein. In recent decades though, overfishing has become a problem. There are many regulations put in place to prevent depletion of the ocean’s fish populations. When you are fishing recreationally, be sure to be aware of local rules and catch limits.

5.) Practice safe boating. Being a responsible boater means helping to keep the ocean clean while you’re boating. Be sure to keep garbage out of water-ways by using shore-side facilities for trash and recycling. Keep your engine and bilge working well to prevent oil leaks. Do your boat cleaning and maintenance in the boat yard on land, not in the ocean.

6.) Support ocean organizations. The Surfrider Foundation has been a pioneer in coastal protection since 1984. Its mission to protect the ocean and preserve it for all to enjoy is a noble one. Oceana is another organization that advocates for ocean protection. Their mission is accomplished with a great approach, victory by victory. Learn more on their websites, and get involved.

7.) Cut back on plastics. California recently enacted a major plastic reduction policy, requiring producers to cut back on single-use plastic packaging. How can you help cut back too? Buy a set of cute, personal cutlery that you can reuse. Opt for steel or biodegradable drinking straws. Stop by our new dive center for an array of products that will help you reduce your impact on the ocean.

8.) Clean up your local beaches. Cigarette butts, single flip-flops, crushed cans, abandoned sand toys… these are just a few items you might find if you stroll a stretch of beach. Why not turn your leisurely beach walks into mini-beach cleans? The impact of humans littering along the shoreline doesn’t stop on land. Tides can wash trash and abandoned items out to sea, harming marine life. Picking up beach trash can prevent these problems, even on a small scale.

9.) Be aware of microplastics. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of the saddest things in the ocean. Most of the debris in this patch, which sits in the Pacific between Hawaii and California, is made of up microplastics. Microplastics are small plastic pieces, less than 5 millimeters in length. They can be ingested by ocean life and cause harm. Reduce your use of microplastics by reducing your use of plastics overall.

10.) Choose sustainable seafood. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has influenced the world of seafood consumption with its Seafood Watch program. This movement encourages consumers to ask all restaurants and fish sellers: “Do you sell sustainable seafood?” Knowing the species and the source of the seafood we consume is important because it informs our choices in selecting eco-certified items.

11.) Keep learning. There are plenty of people working for the protection of the ocean, and you can be one of them. In order to keep the ocean from being overfished and to prevent the Pacific Garbage Patch from growing any bigger, continue to educate yourself on ways you and your community can help keep oceans clean and protected.

As with any great efforts, reducing human impact on the ocean begins with the small actions of individuals.

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