Looking out for our oceans has never been this important. If you’ve watched the latest Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, you’ll know that our impact on the ocean is dire. The film brought up everything from animal cruelty to ocean pollution, and it was tough to watch.
But before we resign to the idea that making the world a better place is impossible, we should take a collective deep breath. There are many small actions that we can take here.
Here are 10 simple things you can do every day, because all our contributions matter.
1 Try To Eat Less Seafood
Cutting back or eliminating seafood from your diet is a big one. A reduction in seafood as a protein source will have a massively positive impact on the oceans. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a third of commercial fish stocks are being depleted at unsustainable levels. Ninety percent have been fully exploited. As the demand for fish increases, ocean supplies are becoming depleted more quickly and ecosystems are being radically disrupted. An easy solution is to swap out fish for vegetarian versions of your favourite seafood. Our vegan fish alternative, Fry’s Fish-Style Fillets, are a great option, or for another vegan seafood option, try our Battered Prawn-Style Pieces. These are doubly good for the ocean because we’re donating all the proceeds of our vegan seafood range to Sea Shepherd from May till October 2021.
2 Reduce Your Energy Consumption
The ocean has absorbed 90% of the excess heat created by burning fossil fuels in the last half-century. Our beautiful blue has been working overtime for us. Sadly though this means that waters are warmer which is affecting where fish swim and their reproduction cycles. It’s also wreaking havoc on our sea levels which in turn creates more natural disasters on land. You can make a change by being conscious of your energy use at home and work; using public transport (or walking or riding your bike to work); switching to fluorescent light bulbs; turning off lights when they’re not needed and unplugging electronics.
3 Watch Out for Greenwashing
Some labels are trustworthy and helpful, while others are misleading and are just there to create a false sense of security. For example, on its own, the word “sustainable” means very little and looking for reputable certifications to ensure the food you buy is sustainable is critical. This is true for all food, not just fish. Learn more about how to spot greenwashing here.
4 Try Going Plant-Based
A surprising fact is that pigs, chickens and cows are the world’s leading oceanic predators. The waste runoff of livestock operations on land has caused more than 500 nitrogen flooded dead zones in the oceans. Animal agriculture is also responsible for more greenhouse gasses than the entire transport industry combined. Our appetite for meat is affecting the temperature and cleanliness of our waters. Buying more sustainable products like plant-based fish or seafood, helps keep them on the shelf, thereby giving others people considering change the option too. This is a powerful step you can take to be an advocate for change.
5 Use Less Plastic
The more plastic we use, the more plastic ends up in the ocean. It is estimated by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Interestingly the main source of ocean plastic pollution is not plastic straws but is actually fishing lines. (See Steps #1 and #4. Plant-based fish alternatives remove the need for fishing lines). As much as possible, reduce and reuse, and then recycle! We’ve been ditching the plastic inners in many of our product boxes and have a plan in action that is moving us towards 96% recyclable or recycled packaging by the end of 2021.
6 Take Care of the Beach
Whether you are relaxing on the beach, surfing or diving, always clean up after yourself. Respect the ocean by not interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Participate in or organise local beach clean-ups. Pick up what you find no matter how big or small. Neglected, lightweight debris will be blown into the sea.
7 Read Labels Carefully and Educate Yourself
Don’t purchase items that exploit marine life and choose ocean-friendly products. There are many products on the market that harm fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing coral jewellery, tortoiseshell hair accessories, cosmetics containing shark squalene and other shark product, as well as fish tank accessories which are often sourced from fragile coastal ecosystems. Don’t buy fish as pets either and take a strong stance against keeping exotic species in captivity.
8 Support Organisations That Protect the Ocean
There are many local and global organisations that are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife, like the brave people of Sea Shepherd. Consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on advocacy. We hope to raise about $15 000 for them in the next 6-months through the global sales of our Fish-Style Fillets and Battered Prawn-Style Pieces (both are available through your local retailers). We’ve been working with Sea Shepherd for years, and truly believe that they are ocean warriors and that they will do so much with this money for our beautiful ocean.
9 Be the Change in Your Community
One person can make a difference! Start beach cleanups, ask restaurants and supermarkets to offer more plant-based and fish-free options. Speak up if you notice threatened species on the menu or seafood counter. Take some time to research the ocean policies of government officials before casting your vote. An easy way to make a huge difference is cooking plant-based meals for friends and family to show them how delicious they can be. Have a look at our recipes to get some inspiration.
10 Share your knowledge with others
Inspire friends and family to watch Seaspiracy, post plant-based seafood recipes on your own social media pages and share interesting facts. Be the inspiration for someone else’s change!