If you love the ocean as much as we do, you may be interested in the following simple strategies to reduce your impact. Some of these strategies apply to your time spent around the ocean, and others apply wherever you are. So whether you're on vacation and planning a Maui ocean tour activity, or you're back home reading about the health of the ocean, we hope you'll enjoy these tips!
1. Use reef safe sunscreen. Here in Hawaii, coral reefs have to contend with substantial quantities of chemicals deposited in the water every day by a myriad of swimmers, including vacationers and local residents alike. Some of these chemicals can cause serious damage, making it all the more difficult for these slow-growing animals to thrive in their vibrant colonies. Fortunately, there are now reef-safe sunscreens on the market that are not yet zero impact, but are definitely healthier. Look for one with zinc oxide or titanium, which are natural minerals that have not been found to harm corals.
2. Nix the helium balloons and the single-use bottles and bags. You probably already know what we're going to say about this. helium balloons that get lost sometimes end up in the ocean. Here in Hawaii, it's especially likely that when it finally comes down again, it'll end up in the water. Given enough time, the ocean and the suns radiation can break down pretty much everything, but not as fast as plastics are being dumped in the ocean. Unfortunately, a lot of this stuff is dangerous to marine life. If you must use these kinds of items, reuse and recycle them if you can.
3. Choose sustainable seafood. Some seafood consumption takes a heavy toll on the environment. Fishing strategies like trolling are known to cause serious damage to marine ecosystems, and some fish stocks are depleted and need time to recover. How do you keep track of all this? The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a Seafood Watch guide that simply lists seafood types according to how sustainable they are. You can print it out, or look for their app for iPhone and Android.
4. Look but don't touch. It may be tempting to play with that red pencil urchin or pick up a sea cucumber, but please resist the urge. You may think that it's okay just once, but some of these creatures contend with human interference from other individuals every day. Feel like keeping that pretty shell in the tide pool? Another hermit crab goes homeless, and this is no exaggeration, because they are often forced to fight with each other over their next suitable home. And whatever you do, don't try to ride the turtles, because climbing on a stranger isn't polite. You might get scolded by your fellow explorers, or worse, bit by the turtle.
5. Support environmentally friendly activities. If you really wanted to start with us, we couldn't say no! Want to learn how our Maui ocean tours support Hawaii's marine environment? You can read all about it on our Research Recipients page.
We hope to see you soon on one of our tours so we can show you the best of Hawaii's marine ecosystems! If you need our assistance, you'll find our contact information at the bottom of the page. Mahalo!