Happy World Ocean Day
Dive Philippines,  Diving

World Ocean Day

Happy World Ocean Day

Has anyone else wished you a Happy World Ocean Day yet? It seems every day someone or another had declared a national day, there are well over 1,500. Some are trivial, while others bring attention to important issues. World Ocean Day was developed from a concept proposed by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development and the Ocean Institute of Canada back in 1992. Today is recognized by many countries and organizations worldwide including the United Nations.

In the 1960s and 1970s, water pollution was a growing problem, with our waters reaching crisis status. The Great Lakes became so polluted that it was unsafe to eat fish caught there, not counting the massive dead fish that washed ashore, and even swimming was banned in most locations. The oceans had dead zones and there were predictions that the ocean would die, and after that so would we. Steps were taken to slow and, in some cases, reverse the damage.

The oceans are still in peril, and we need to take steps to ensure the future of mankind.

Scuba Divers are Environmentally Aware

As a group, I see that scuba divers are a very environmentally aware group. Speaking from my experiences, I believe it is because we can see the impact man has on the undersea environment. You can dive hundreds of miles from land and still see litter in the ocean. The worst is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Located in the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, The Pacific Gyre, a circular current, has assembled plastics and other debris into an area larger than the State of Texas.

Great Pacific garbage patch

On a smaller scale, we can see how local conditions can impact marine life. Some of it is pollution, while others are using practices that are not sustainable. I have seen a healthy reef teeming with fish turned into a rubble field with thousands of dead fish because someone decided to use explosives to stun fish and gather what they could from those that floated to the surface. The act of Shark finning has been a major factor in the decline of sharks worldwide.  Shark fins are valued in some cultures for medical reasons or as a sign of wealth. Shark fin soup is a luxury dish in China and is used in expensive dinners and celebrations like weddings.

I will admit I do a nice shark steak occasionally, but that is different than having shark fins. The difference is sustainability. US-caught sharks are considered a sustainable choice. Shark finning is a world different and is illegal in the US and becoming illegal in more countries. Sharks are caught, the fins removed, and the shark is then dumped back overboard. Even if the shark was still alive when dumped back into the water, without the fins, the shark will soon die.

World Ocean Day


Embrace World Ocean Day into your Lifestyle

I am not a tree-hugger type, I believe we, as the human race, can create a balance between our lives and the life of the planet.  Overfishing of certain types of fish has reduced many to the point they are endangered of extinction. If we purchase fish species that are not endangered and caught using sustainable methods, there is no reason we can not add that to our menus. Taking steps to reduce our plastic usage is another big factor. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is primarily plastic, most of which is too small to be visible to the naked eye.

There are many reasons to protect the oceans, do some research and see what you can do to help.  There are many marine conservation programs looking for volunteers, even NOAA. In case you have not heard, there will be a new National Marine sanctuary soon at Lake Ontario.

If you are a scuba diver or plan on becoming one, there are over 30 organizations that offer special packages. While the programs are not free, they do represent a great value. The cost is much less than a typical dive vacation. Many of them include dive training as a part of their programs.  If you are not a diver they will teach you, or if you are, you may pick up some advanced courses. As a volunteer, you will assist with their conservation efforts. Marine Conservation Philippines is an example.  You learn and assist in scientific diving, food, and accommodations are included. You will have multiple dives each day, with days off to off gas. They charge about $500 a week.

I missed National Running Day yesterday; I had planned to start a running program, but the air quality was too bad. I still plan to start getting back into running, but when air quality is normal. Tomorrow is Coral Triangle Day. The coral triangle is the epicenter of marine diversity. The northern tip if the triangle is Taiwan Straight off the coast of the Philippines, the west angle is Indonesia, and the east edge is Papua New Guinea.  I will also be getting myself a pie, so I can celebrate National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day.

Charles W Davis Jr. is the author of the “Subic Bay Travel and Dive Guide”, the most referenced source of information on the wrecks of Subic Bay. He is also the author of six other diving and travel books and has ghosted written a number of other books. A Freelance writer attracting clients from his own website www.charleswdavisjr.com and working on the upwork website as “Travel & Scuba Diving Specialist Have WIFI, Will Travel”.

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