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 targeted species.
In honor of World Oceans Day, take action this June 8th to help fight overfishing!
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 same time.
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 global recommendations.
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 safe!
Buy from ethical companies; ask your local grocers and chefs to do the same
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 overfishing is an issue you can about, want them to act on, and you’ll 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 overfishing 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 fish’ which 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 overfishing problem. Consider showing a documentary such as The End of the Line at home, in your school, community center, or place of worship.
There are hundreds of events being held all over the world, find one near you and celebrate with a purpose this World Oceans Day! You can also go the extra mile and organize an event yourself using ideas and free materials provided at WorldOceansDay.org!