Save the Oceans and Protect the Whale Sharks of Ningaloo
The ocean is perhaps our planet’s greatest treasure, and you’ll never be more certain of this than when you dive into Ningaloo’s turquoise waters to go swimming with whale sharks at Exmouth, WA. There’s nothing quite like the sheer wonder of sharing these waters with such a majestic creature in an up-close and personal way.
But the ocean is more than a dazzling showpiece. It’s also an immensely important global asset. Its waters provide a staggering 97 per cent of the world’s liveable habitat, and hundreds of thousands of distinct plant and animal species make their home in its waters. Furthermore, the ocean is a major contributor to our atmosphere, with as much as 50 per cent of the oxygen you breathe originating in the sea.
The ocean feeds us, entertains us and contributes to our health and prosperity. That said, marine habitats around the world are in great peril at the moment. Our own soaring population, carbon emissions and unsustainable fishing practices have placed many ocean ecosystems on the brink of collapse.
Join Us in Promoting the Health of Ocean Ecosystems
At Ningaloo Whaleshark N Dive, we fully embrace the need to respect and care for the oceans off our coast. We accomplish this, in part, by organising responsible tours that stay within the limits of safe ecological tourism. We believe that, by introducing others to these marvellous creatures in their natural habitat, we’re helping them discover the same passion for the sea that we have. We hope that those who have joined our tours of the Ningaloo Coast are inspired to do their part to promote the future health and wellbeing of our ocean and the ecosystems it supports.
The world’s oceans are facing many serious problems at the moment:
- Severe overfishing is depleting the world’s fisheries.
- Rising temperatures are severely straining marine habitats.
- Ocean acidification (caused by carbon emissions) is leading to coral bleaching and die-offs.
- Pollutants ranging from plastic bags to hazardous chemicals flushed down drains are threatening marine life.
These are just a few of the pressing issues that our oceans are currently facing. Dire as it may seem, there is still time to act. If we commit to making conscientious and responsible choices that have the best interests of the oceans in mind, we can rein in or even reverse many of the problems that we’ve been contributing to.
What Can I Do to Protect the Oceans?
There are many front-line marine conservation organisations that are doing important work to save our world’s oceans (Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Oceanic Preservation Society, Ric O’Barry’s Dolphin Project, etc). Donating funds to organisations like these or even volunteering time to help with specific, local causes is a great way to make a difference. But there are also many other practical ways you can do your part to promote a healthier future for marine habits and the amazing creatures that live in them:
- Cut Down on the Use of Throwaway Plastics.
Plastic is everywhere in today’s world – and not just on land. In fact, the problem of marine plastic pollution is getting seriously out of hand. Plastic debris in the ocean can injure or even kill fish, marine mammals and birds. To do your part, try cutting down on the amount of plastic you use in your daily life. Use a cloth tote instead of plastic bags to carry groceries; use a reusable water bottle; and start storing your leftovers in reusable containers instead of plastic containers that quickly wear out and need to be thrown away.
- Become a Sustainable Seafood Eater.
If you’re not prepared to cut seafood out of your diet altogether, then make a point of dining more sustainable. Sustainable fisheries only catch fish that exist in plenty and can reproduce quickly to maintain their numbers. This can also include aquaculture, though some fish farms are decidedly un-eco-friendly. Being a sustainable seafood eater is all about educating yourself about how the fish you eat is sourced. You can learn more from this guide to sustainable seafood published by the Marine Conservation Society.
- Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.
Western Australians know first-hand just how important it is to keep your carbon footprint responsibly small. Doing so ensures that there are plenty of resources to go around, whilst also promoting a healthier ecosystem for our native species and for future Australians. Cycling to work, switching your lights over to compact fluorescents or becoming a vegetarian are all highly effective ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases pumped into the atmosphere on your behalf. This, in turn, could help turn the dial back on our rapidly warming oceans.
- Take Care of the Beach Whilst Enjoying It.
The Ningaloo Coast is one of the world’s finest marine habitats, and visiting to go swimming with whale sharks is something that everyone should have a chance to enjoy. One way that you can help to protect this UNECO World Heritage Site is by going out of your way to take care of it during your visit. Always clean up after yourself to keep plastics and other pollutants from being drawn out to sea. Refrain from removing corals and other wildlife, and always heed prohibitions and warning signs that are posted around the area.
Australians have a special relationship with the ocean. Some 85 percent of our people live within 50 km of the coast, so it’s difficult for us to ignore just how important these waters are to our daily lives. That’s why it should come as no surprise that our country often steps out as a global leader in terms of marine conservation.
Take the Commonwealth Marine Parks initiative, which was announced in 2012. Australia made history by declaring the world’s largest network of marine parks and marine sanctuaries. This particular initiative received an enormous outpouring of public support, though it’s now under threat (see here for more from the Australian Marine Conservation Society).
Even so, the fact that conservation initiatives like these survive in the face of commercial interests and party politics are a testament to what a difference the average citizen can make. If you’re as passionate about preserving marine habitats as we are, then we encourage you to get involved through a combination of lifestyle changes, charitable support, volunteering and spreading the world. Together, we can ensure that future Australians enjoy the same chances we’ve had to go swimming with whale sharks off the beautiful Ningaloo Coast.