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Together we have the power to protect our seas

From Langdale to Egmont, the Sunshine Coast is an ocean playground on all accounts. Whether you like kayaking, swimming, setting crab traps or just watching orcas and seals swim by, the ocean provides an abundance of pleasure, food and employment. It is a defining element of our wonderful lifestyle here on the Coast.

World Oceans Day on June 8 will feature celebratory events around the globe.

The Government of Canada first proposed a World Oceans Day back at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, a day to celebrate oceans has been marked in many countries around the globe, and in 2009 the United Nations officially declared a World Oceans Day. Well done Canada!

The purpose of this day is to have people around the world realize what a precious resource our ocean is, and recognize the changes needed to become better caretakers of our oceans. Truly it is a day to learn, share and generally respect what these great waters provide for all of us.

Last year there were 600 events planned in 55 countries and these numbers are growing. Locally, you can do your part by taking the time to learn some new things about the ocean and its benefits along with just heading out and enjoying it for what it’s worth. It’s also a good time to recognize that cutting down on herbicides and pesticides can help keep these pollutants from running off into the ocean.

World Oceans Day spotlights the need to learn more about protecting ocean wildlife by such simple actions as not disposing of fishing lines or plastic items in the water. Protection measures include being considerate of all sea life including sea birds, mammals and turtles by respecting nesting grounds (especially important to future stocks) and using a high level of care around delicate marine sanctuaries.

Most recently, a pod of orcas appeared in Porpoise Bay, herding and hunting a pod of dolphins or porpoises. While many enjoyed observing these magnificent marine mammals from the shore, boaters in the area buzzed very close to them, harassing and disturbing their hunt. This disruptive behaviour by the boaters was later condemned on Facebook. Most Coast residents recognize and celebrate the great mammals returning to our waters and want to keep them safe, and their numbers growing.

Global pollution and poorly managed fisheries have resulted in dwindling numbers of many marine species. Sunshine Coast resident Jay Ritchlin is a director of the David Suzuki Foundation and says “We’ve seen some positive developments in the way Canada manages its oceans, however many challenges remain and everyone needs to play a part by supporting strong marine conservation and making the right seafood choices at the supermarket.”

The World Oceans Day theme for 2013 is ‘Together we have the power to protect the ocean’. Organizers are asking people to make a promise to change one thing in their lives that will help support the ocean, then upload a photo of yourself with that promise to Facebook or any social media site so that all your friends can see.

Since Sunshine Coast tourism, industry and our overall lives are so heavily influenced by the sea, it is important for us to show our support in whatever way we can so that future generations of Coast residents get to enjoy this wonderful ocean playground.

Jim Dorey, Editor

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