Follow these simple steps to protect sea creatures and their natural habitats.
Text by Julia Rutland
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Whole shells sold in souvenir shops are often dredged from the ocean floor, then killed and bleached. Consider collecting only the empty shells Mother Nature leaves at the water’s edge. Peek inside to ensure you don’t take a live one.
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Wear a sunblock T-shirt, or slather on chemical-free or physical sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Studies suggest chemical sunscreens can kill coral reefs. Bonus: Sunblock clothing is reusable, and you don’t have to remember to reapply.
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Place all trash in proper receptacles. Plastic bags can look like jellyfish to hungry sea turtles and seals. Six-pack rings can trap ocean critters and birds, so cut rings into pieces before disposing.
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Offering a snack to fish and sea turtles encourages them to be dependent on humans and disrupts their diet.
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Hide, Don’t Seek
Don’t Seek Observe ocean life quietly, and never chase a sea turtle or flashy fish. Sea turtles are protected animals. Messing with one may bring a hefty fine or even jail time.
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Draw the Line
Monofilament line and nets can entrap and drown turtles, seals, and birds. Retrieve any broken fishing line, and discard properly.
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Don’t anchor your boat on coral, or step on it when swimming, especially when wearing fins.
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Seek hotels and resorts with procedures to protect sea life and water quality.
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Dine at restaurants serving sustainable seafood. Carry a Seafood Watch or Blue Ocean Institute card in your wallet, and order eco-friendly. To download, visit seafoodwatch.org or blueocean.org.
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Stay on Track
Follow trails to the beach, avoiding grasses and shrubs. Their roots anchor the sand and help prevent erosion.