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Education to keep our oceans beautiful

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Concise Guide to Marine Conservation and Education  

Photography courtesy of Dolphin Discovery

Visitors flock to the British Virgin Islands for a temporary taste of paradise. They seek the sand and sun, beautiful scenery, Caribbean culture, and of course, our beautiful ocean.

It is up to us—the residents who are fortunate enough to call the islands our home—to protect our ocean by knowing how to treat our marine life with respect and keep our land and waters clean.

 Marine conservation is defined as the protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas. It focuses on both the restoration of existing damage caused by human impact and works to limit future damage by pollution and other factors which are harmful to these habitats.

For the past three years, Dolphin Discovery on Tortola has been educating the youth through free marine conservation programs which are taught at local schools followed by a an educational visit to the park.

Every month, the programme leaders choose a new topic and collaborate with 15 of their marine biologists in order to make sure the information is accurate and as enriching as possible.

In addition to these classes, they also organise regular beach clean-ups, working in collaboration with the BVI Tourist Board, Conservation and Fisheries Department, and the Agriculture Department.

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     Did you know?

The BVI is home to lots of areas with mangroves. Mangroves provide valuable nursery areas for juvenile fish and crustaceans and are also an important source of nutrients for the adjacent marine ecosystem. Not only are they important shelters for marine life, but they also help to protect the coastline from serious erosions during tropical cyclones.

What is the importance of marine life?

Marine life is important to the natural food chain, as many animals, both sea and land based, depend on  the ocean’s vegetation and creatures as a stable part of their diet in order to live in their natural habitat.

What effects does pollution and disruption have on the ocean?

Over the years, the amount of pollution and destruction to ecosystems has increased drastically within the marine environment. Animals’ natural habitats have become unsuitable for them to live as the temperatures have changed and sources of foods no longer exist in those areas, so they themselves migrate to new locations.

This in turn causes a chain reaction, because as one species vacates an area, those higher in the food chain must relocate to follow them or find new sources of food.

What man-made factors affect the ocean?

Industrial waste: Chemicals and pollutants are often drained into fresh water leading to the sea because of improper waste management systems

Sewage and water waste: Sewage water released into the ocean contains harmful bacteria and chemicals which can cause serious health problems

Mining activities: The elements extracted from mining in the raw form contain chemicals and can increase the amount of toxic elements when mixed with water

Marine dumping: Garbage produced from each household is deposited directly into the water in some countries, not only causing pollution but often direct harm to animals in the sea

Accidental oil leakage: Oil spills pose a huge concern as a large amount of oil from ships enters the sea and does not dissolve in water, posing a threat to marine life

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Everyday tips for people to protect our oceans

Mind your carbon footprint by reducing energy use

Make safe and sustainable seafood choices

Use less plastic made products

Help take care of our beaches by doing a 10 min clean-up after yourself when you visit a beach

Don’t buy items that exploit marine life

Support organisations that are working to protect the ocean

Influence change in your community

Travel the ocean responsibly

Read and learn about ocean and marine life

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Lauren Charley

Lauren Charley

Writer at aLookingGlass
Lauren graduated with an Honours B.A. in Media Studies from the University of Western Ontario in Canada. She has worked as a feature magazine writer, where many of her stories pertained to events, people, activities, and places in popular tourist destinations.

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