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5 Things You Can Do to Travel The Ocean Responsibly

There is nothing better than spending your precious vacay time at the sea. Either chilling by the beach or see unique fishes under the water does sound marvellous. However, the sea and its ecosystem can be SUPER-sensitive; meaning that there are chances that we might have unknowingly hurt them. That's why we've been recently seeing sad ocean-related headlines in the news, like closures of beautiful diving spots and confiscation of coral reefs parts. But together we can change it, by travelling more consciously and responsibly

So if you love diving and want to keep the ocean safe and beautiful, here are 5 great tips for your next getaway!

1. Don’t feed the fish

     

                                                              © Photo by kapook.com

According to Ocean Crusaders Organization, feeding the fish can change their behaviour directly. This is very dangerous to the fish themselves. They might not be scared of humans, making it easier for people to improperly interact with them (e.g. catching them). In a big picture, marine life relations in the ecosystem can also get worse. Fish may start relying more on humans and stop finding food themselves. They may die from lacking necessary nutrients. In addition to that, food given by humans are not from coral reef areas. Some fish can eat while some can't. This results in some groups of fish that can consume tourists food becoming more dominant over groups that can't. As a result, fish that aren't used to tourists food have to change homes and the ecosystem is forever changed.

2. Don’t step on coral reefs

   

                                                         © Photo from manager.co.th

Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History said that coral reefs are living things that require a lot of time to grow. Now, some may not realise this, but a gentle touch and the reefs can die. And stepping on them is a big NO NO, as it only damages the reefs, but its sharp edges can also hurt us as well. 

3. Don’t litter in the sea or on the island

  

                                                        © Photo by John Johnson, onebreathphoto.com

Trashing in the sea causes a lot of problems. Seabirds can mistake trash for fish (i.e. food). And eating trash is lethal to them, disrupts the food chain and negatively affects the marine ecosystem. Meanwhile, the toxins from trash are directly exposed to the sea, which affects us in return. So it's like throwing a banana peel on the ground and slipping on it afterwards; hurting ourselves in the end.

4. Don’t take what belongs to the sea home

  

                                                           © Photo by ยุ่งชะมัด สัตวแพทย์ (Yoongchamud)

Anything that stays the sea, e.g. shells, coral reefs, and fish, are meant to be in the sea, period. It's a not exactly a good idea to take them away and claim ownership. Again, bear in mind that if the way of nature is changed, the ecosystem changes as well. For example, shells on the beach are where many species of animal live (hermit crabs, for one). Are places they live meant to be taken away? Give it some thoughts.

5. Don’t try to touch any living things in the sea

  

                                                      © Photo from viator.com

Let them live, let them be. Touching them can cause harm to both marine life and us humans. How can you be sure the cute fish is not hazardous to human? And, how can you be sure WE are not harmful to them? It's best not to disturb the marine life. Just take a look and enjoy :)

Next time you go to the sea, makes sure to tick all of these 5 great tips! You will not only feel great about setting examples for responsible and sustainable tourism but also guarantees that the beautiful lives underwater will stay beautiful and be with us forever.

© Thumbnail Photo by Matt Kieffer. Flickr.

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Nadee Kangvolkij (Wai)

Nadee is a third-year student of School of Global Studies, Thammasat University. She's a dog lover! Her dream is travelling around the world, explore as much as she can and that's one of the reasons why she's doing an internship here. Spending time on watching movies and listening to good music are her favourite.