Make a difference for World Oceans Day.

Photo by Paulo Brandao | flickr.com

Photo by Paulo Brandao | flickr.com

Today (June 8th) is World Oceans Day – a day to take note of the successes we’ve had and opportunities that we face marching into 2013 and beyond. Although it’s not a well-known holiday, I’m happy to shed light on what’s been going on for our oceans and how you can take part in preserving our waters for future generations.

SUCCESS: Sharks and Rays protected under CITES

The Convention for International Trade of Endangered Species, an international commission, met in March of 2013 and made the unprecedented decision to list five commercially viable sharks and manta rays under CITES. This is a huge step in the conservation world in light of shark finning practices that take place globally. Increasing permits needed to trade these shark items can cause price to increase and reduce the demand for these species commercially. Only time will tell if this concept holds.

OPPORTUNITY:  The Ocean Health Index is released

In late 2012, The Ocean Health Index was released to provide an interactive way to understand how our oceans are doing. It’s a great tool for conservation and allows everyone to see how different countries are doing in terms of ocean conservation.

There’s plenty of opportunity to see how we can improve our oceans globally – especially since the world average for tourism and recreation (how well we protect our oceans so these activities can take place) was 10 out of 100. Although not every country’s going to take these numbers seriously – especially those with very little ocean shoreline – it’s a good way to understand which countries may need additional pressure to make the policy changes necessary for cleaner oceans.

SUCCESS: Northern Gateway pipeline rejected by BC Government

Last week, the BC government released a public statement rejecting the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline – a huge success for those advocating for clean shorelines and oceans.

Of course, this is not the end of the conversation. With the Canadian Environmental Assessment process, Northern Gateway is more than welcome to resubmit their proposal after making revisions to their existing proposal – changing the pipeline route, length of the pipeline or the route it’s taking, or any other edit you can think of. Although we’ve succeeded this time around, it’s not the end of the battle for those wishing to stop the pipeline.

OPPORTUNITY:  We’re beginning to care more and more about our oceans

There’s a huge surge of conservation-minded people from all walk of life that understand the need for oceans in order to survive on this planet. World Oceans Day helps bring these people together. From shoreline cleanups, to movie screenings – there’s something for everyone that can help you get educated and get involved with protecting our oceans.

For more information, check out the World Ocean Day’s list of activities. If you’d like to write about ocean conservation for us, please get in touch with us.