Ocean Issues

The oceans cover more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, and yet they’re one of the least-understood habitats on the planet. And unfortunately, they’re one of the most threatened–by things like climate change, overfishing, bycatch, plastic pollution, and more. More and greater efforts to protect the oceans and the life they contain are vital.

If you care about ocean issues, here are some things you can do:
Stop Florida’s shark fin trade
Demand greater protections for endangered bluefin tuna before they disappear from the sea
Protect the world’s last greatest salmon run from certain destruction
Prevent plastic trash from getting into the oceans

Stop Florida’s shark fin trade
ACT NOW: May 1, 2019
Bi-partisan bills have been filed with the Florida State Legislature that would effectively stop the sale and trade of shark fins in the State. Miami is now America’s top importer of shark fins. One reason is that the shark fin trade is still legal in Florida, despite other states prohibiting the sale of shark fins in order to prevent further declines in shark populations and to deter finning. Shark finning has been illegal in US waters since 2000, but a global demand for shark fins, particularly in Asia, continues to fuel this cruel practice and disturbing trade.
Over the past five months a group called Shark Allies, together with local partners, legal consultants and legislators have been preparing this campaign:
Senate Bill 352  Sponsor Senator Gruters (R)
House Bill 99  Sponsor Representative Jacobs (D), Co-sponsor Holly Raschein (R)

Click here to sign on in support of the effort to stop Florida’s shark fin trade:
If you would like to submit your own letter of support, please contact Stefanie Brendl via email. She will know at any stage of the process which committees and members they should be sent to. This will change throughout the weeks, depending on what committee the bills are heading to. She can also answer any additional questions you might have or work with you if you would like to get more involved in this campaign.
You can also help by spreading the word on social media.
@SharkAllies   #NoFinFL      
Websites: and

Demand greater protections for endangered bluefin tuna before they disappear from the sea
ACT NOW: March 1, 2019
The bluefin tuna, one of the world’s strongest and most remarkable ocean creatures, is at a high risk of extinction. Overfishing is driving this mighty warm-blooded fish to the brink, and yet many sushi restaurants continue to serve it to customers. In January 2019, a 613-lb bluefin tuna was sold at a record-setting price of $3.1 million in Japan to a Japanese sushi restaurant owner.

Bluefin tuna desperately need greater protections under fisheries laws worldwide. You can help by boycotting bluefin tuna. If you find it in restaurants, do not eat it.

If you’re based in the U.S., call Donna Wieting, director of NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Protected Resources at: (301)427-8400. Tell her the National Marine Fisheries Service must get more serious about bluefin tuna protection by greatly restricting fishing of this ecologically important species and participating in international agreements that conserve–rather than deplete–this species.

Protect the world’s last greatest salmon run from certain destruction
STAY ALERT: Early 2019
UPDATE: While key financing deal for Pebble Mine fell through in May, the Pebble Mine Partnership has gained access to land it will use to build and operate roads for its planned mining project. This is a major step backward in protecting Bristol Bay’s watershed, the most ecologically and economically important remaining salmon basin on Earth.

Currently, the US Army Corps of Engineers is still deciding whether or not to move forward with Pebble Limited Partnership’s application to construct Pebble Mine. A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is due out in early 2019. We ask you to stay alert to this developing story, and check back here for an expected Action Alert in the near future.

What’s the issue? Pebble Mine would likely span three miles across and would require a huge tailings dam and containment pond to “hold” the 2.5-10 billion gallons of mine waste produced over the mine’s lifetime. Accidents could destroy the existing values of the whole region. Chronic leaks and a near-eternal poison drip seem virtually guaranteed.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–the regulating agency tasked with deciding whether or not to give the mine a go-ahead–has been plagued by management problems in the past. It’s been found to have not adequately assessed the environmental impact of deleterious and exploitative projects, including Pebble Mine. We asked you here to make public comments throughout the decision-making process, in the hopes it would persuade the Army Corps to seriously consider the environmental impacts of giving this enormously destructive project the go-ahead.

The Safina Center strongly opposes Pebble Mine, and has spoken out against the project in the media. Learn more about Pebble Mine on the Army Corps’ website.

Prevent plastic trash from getting into the oceans
Here are some tips to help you reduce your use of plastic products, so less of it ends up in the oceans:

  • Avoid purchasing food and products wrapped in plastic
  • Use a reusable water bottle. Don’t buy bottled water or other drinks
  • Don’t use products that contain microbeads. (Check by using the Beat the Microbead website and app)
  • Cook at home more often; eat takeout less
  • Buy secondhand items since they usually don’t come in packaging
  • Recycle the plastic items you do use (instead of throwing them away in the trash)
  • Support legislation banning or taxing plastic bags, styrofoam and other plastic products
  • Buy things in bulk to cut down on plastic packaging
  • Bring a reusable garment bag to your dry cleaner
  • Support campaigns that encourage less use, or an end to the use, of plastic. We encourage you to check out the OneLessStraw Campaign, organized by conservation nonprofit One More Generation (OMG), which was founded in 2009 by then 8.5-and-7-year-old brother and sister duo Carter and Olivia Ries.

(cover photo: Short-beaked common dolphins in the Great South Channel, off Martha’s Vineyard. ©Carl Safina)