Celebrate World Oceans Day 2015 with WWF

World Oceans Day, held every June 8, was declared in 1992 at the United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. People all over the world now organize celebrations to recognize the life-giving role oceans play for both people and the environment on the day, and we want to make sure you make the best of it. There are things you can do today and every day to contribute to ocean health, not to mention many exciting events you can attended in Canada (and around the world!) for a full immersion in the life aquatic in celebration of World Oceans Day.

Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Canadian waters. © J. D. Taylor / WWF-Canada
Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) in Canadian waters.
© J. D. Taylor / WWF-Canada

Three things you can do NOW to contribute to ocean health

1. Choose sustainable seafood

Be like Bob and choose Marine Stewardship Council certified-sustainable seafood. Choosing seafood with the blue MSC ecolabel means you are getting your fish from a well-managed, sustainable fishery. You can easily find fresh and frozen MSC-certified seafood at Loblaws supermarkets across the country.

2. Participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup

Marine debris is one of the biggest issues facing our oceans today. This litter can distribute toxic chemicals throughout the oceans, snag and tear corals, and harm animals if they ingest pieces of plastic or become entangled in the debris.

Rainbow Haven Provincial Park, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup (GCSC) 2007 drop-in cleanup at Rainbow Haven Provincial Park in Cole Harbour, NS. Event organized by WWF-Canada and the Vancouver Aquarium on September 15, 2007. Twenty-four volunteers and five WWF-Canada staff participated despite wet weather. Cleanup Results: ·# of participants = 24 · # of bags of garbage and recycling = 4 garbage (less than one bag of recycling) ·approximate weight of garbage collected = 60lb ·top 10 items collected and their counts = cigarette butts (361), food wrappers/containers (95), bags (79), plastic caps/lids (77), straws/stirrers (40), cups/plates/etc (18), Tobacco packaging/wrappers (16), cigar tips (15) · unusual/interesting items found = flip flops, lifeguard's whistle, plastic sign
Rainbow Haven Provincial Park, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. © Kyle Ferguson / WWF-Canada

With up to 80 per cent of marine plastics and debris coming from land-based sources, one of the best things you can do to show your support for ocean health is participate in the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. You’ll immediately see how litter impacts our ecosystem, species and communities, and are able to make a real difference in the health of your local waters.

3. Share your love for our oceans!

Tweet your love for our oceans using #BluePanda and encourage your friends to join in the celebrations for healthy oceans around the world.  You can also submit photos you’ve taken of our oceans in our June Photo Contest.

Four events you can participate in to mark World Oceans Day 2015

June 5 – 7: Fishackathon (Toronto, Vancouver and 13 other cities worldwide)

For the second year running, the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships is working with Greenwave, WWF and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to present Fishackathon, an event that helps create tech tools to address challenges in sustainable fishing around the world.
You can RSVP to join the Toronto launch event at BNOTIONS on June 5 at 6 p.m., or hit the Vancouver Aquarium at the same time if you find yourself further west. There are other hackathons scheduled across the globe. Find out more on the Fishackathon site or simply follow as the code develops on Twitter @fishackathon.

June 6: St. John’s, Newfoundland – World Oceans Day Free Family Fun Day

Moving to the east coast, join WWF and a handful of other ocean-friendly organizations to celebrate in grand family style at the Marine Institute, located in St. John’s, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is a free event with a number of different educational displays including touch tanks, a craft corner, face painting, and an animated movie. Check out the event poster here for more details.

June 8: Ottawa – WWF-Canada and HUB Ottawa are bringing the oceans to Sparks Street!

From 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., WWF will host the second annual MP Oyster Shuck-Off featuring Members of Parliament from all parties as they vie for the titles of best, fastest, and most creative shucker in the capital. Whalesbone pro shuckers will also go head-to-head and show their skills.

MPs from all parties buckle down to shuck oysters at the inaugural Oceans on Sparks Street event in 2014. © roneade.com
MPs from all parties buckle down to shuck oysters at the inaugural Oceans on Sparks Street event in 2014. © roneade.com

After the shuck-off, WWF-Canada and HUB Ottawa will announce the winners of the first-ever Ottawa Wave Makers microgrant program, which supports local projects that raise awareness about Canada’s oceans.
You’ll also find an ocean photo booth and tweet wall, which gives everyone a chance to express why Canada’s oceans are important, an opportunity to learn how to shuck an oyster like a pro, and a chance to meet the Wave Makers in person and learn more about the exciting salt-tinged projects that will be happening across the city.

June 8: #WhaleTales and ocean health Twitter chat with WWF and the Ontario Science Centre

Sparks Street isn’t your oyster? Not to worry. WWF’s very own Tonya Wimmer will be taking to Twitter from 12:00 p.m. – 1 p.m. EST to talk about whales and ocean health with Dr. Fred Sharpe on the Ontario Science Centre’s Twitter handle @OntScienceCtr.  The conversation is based around the amazing new IMAX Humpback Whales Film, so expect bold words about these big marine mammals. But come ready with questions. Both Tonya and Fred will be ready to answer your most confounding ocean conundrums.
So wherever you’re celebrating, let’s use this World Oceans Day as a reminder that we all have a role to play in keeping our oceans healthy.