Clownfish, just like the star of the hit animated movie “Finding Nemo,” are at risk because of the environmental damage being inflicted on our oceans. With clownfish, the coral reefs on which they depend for protection from predators like sharks and eels are threatened by ocean acidification due to increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Connecting responsible fishing and health

World leaders are recognizing the effects of climate change, overfishing and other dangers to our oceans. In 2014, Secretary of State John Kerry described how pollution and illegal fishing harm ocean ecosystems and threaten us all. “The connection between a healthy ocean and life itself for every single person on Earth simply cannot be overstated,” he said.

Man in ocean waters collecting dead fish in net (© AP Images)
Illegal fishing harms ocean ecosystems. (© AP Images)

As Kerry said, “A lot of people don’t focus on the fact that half of the world’s population — half — depends on fish as a significant source of animal protein. But if we don’t start to take better care of the fisheries and marine areas, that will not be able to be true much longer.”

Preserving marine environs

Additionally, President Obama signed a proclamation on August 26 to quadruple in size an ocean monument originally created by President George W. Bush in 2006. The Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the coast of Hawaii will contain 1,508,870 square kilometers, more than twice the size of Texas.

Underwater view of colorful corals (© AP Images)
Corals up to 5,000 years old are protected in the expanded Papahanaumokuakea and Pacific Remote Islands marine national monuments. (© AP Images)

“This really is a matter of stewardship.  It’s also a matter of generational responsibility,” Kerry said.  “We have a responsibility to make sure our kids and their families and the future has the same ocean to serve it in the same way as we have — not to be abused, but to preserve and utilize.”

Do your part

Each of us, every day, must take actions and make choices that help the ocean — from minimizing and recycling our trash to buying sustainable and accurately labelled seafood to decreasing our overall carbon footprint. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) offers suggestions for ways you can reduce your ecological impact, from using energy-efficient light bulbs to spreading the word about pollution.