What You Need To Know About Rising Tide Conservation

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It’s taken me near all day to start this post. Not at all because I didn’t want to, but because this conservation is so amazing that I almost didn’t know where to start. Do I start with the why the how or the when? So many questions and so many answers. 

When we were invited to join SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Rising Tide to learn about conservation, I have to admit I was a little on the fence. I wasn’t sure how I could benefit or bring back something inspiring to share with my readers. But, I love to learn new things ….and swimming with dolphins kinda sold me.  

 

A photo posted by Angela Roy (@mommypr) on

A conservation cooperative spearheaded by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is helping to make aquaculture of marine aquarium fish a real and viable alternative to wild collection. 

In 2009, SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment initiated a program dedicated to breeding and rearing marine tropical fish in economically viable ways to provide alternatives to wild collection. Led by SeaWorld’s Vice President of Research and Science, Dr. Judy St. Leger, Rising Tide Conservation integrates the efforts and expertise available at universities, private industry, public aquariums, the marine aquarium hobby, and other research institutions to build on successes and exchange information.

Rising Tide Conservation has had many breeding and rearing successes in its seven years of collaboration including porkfish, dragonets, grunt, angelfish, and gobies. Most notably and recently, Rising Tide Conservation partner the Oceanic Institute in Hawaii has gained international recognition with one of the world’s most popular saltwater aquarium fish, the yellow tang (Zebrasoma flavescens). More than 300,000 of these fish are collected from Hawaii’s reefs each year and they now represent a breakthrough in marine aquaculture nearly 15 years in the making.

Funding from Rising Tide Conservation gave the Oceanic Institute the resources it needed to move the yellow tang project forward. In just one year, researchers worked passed the bottleneck they had experienced for a decade. In October 2015, a group of yellow tang survived to juvenile stage and in March 2016 the process had become reliably repeatable and commercial shipments of fish were made to wholesalers and aquariums.

Rising Tide Conservation will continue to support breakthrough marine aquaculture efforts and SeaWorld is working behind the scenes providing funding for research; fish, larvae, and eggs for aquaculture labs; expertise based on decades of success in fish breeding and rearing; and ensuring that both successes and roadblocks are shared among all the groups participating in Rising Tide Conservation.

In the most basic terms I can use (because I too had to have it broke down for me), when companies go out to the ocean and grab up these fish to sell, they are harming not only the marine life but also the coral reefs. This isn’t an “overfishing” thing, this is a “youre stealing precious rare fish to sell & put in an aquarium who aren’t use to those environment” thing. The conservation decided to start with eggs, and hatch the same fish, breed them and then offer those as an alternate. This way none of the fish are being taken from the ocean. They are raised and sourced in the same environment they would be put into later in life, an aquarium. It’s all they know and will flourish, plus it’s not harming anything in the sea. I, personally, totally understand this and think it’s the best alternative we have right now. 

Another step that SeaWorld is taking, is to announced a new partnership focused on ocean health and the plight of sharks in the wild.  The two organizations will partner to raise awareness of these important issues, and collaborate on science and research to increase understanding of how to better protect these critical predators and their habitats.

 SeaWorld is committed to raising awareness of the plight of sharks in the wild and the oceans they live in.  As part of our commitment that we made in March of this year, we will put meaningful dollars, research and man hours towards reducing this troubling trend,” Joel Manby, President and CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment said.  “The Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey Research Institute have been front and center in this effort for years, and we are proud to open a new chapter in those efforts today.

The partnership with SeaWorld will ensure our ocean conservation messages and our efforts to protect Mako sharks reach a broader audience here in the United States and worldwide,” said renowned scientist, marine wildlife artist and conservationist Dr. Guy Harvey. “We are thrilled to gain the support of the SeaWorld team as we continue to bring educational initiatives and conservation efforts to life.

In addition to the science and research efforts, Guy Harvey and SeaWorld will also work together to increase public awareness about ocean health and the need for shark conservation.  SeaWorld’s new roller coaster, Mako, will be a major platform for this effort.  In the queue lines for the new coaster, guests will be educated and entertained through digital platforms that provide access to the real science of sharks in the wild and ways they can help protect them with Guy Harvey himself as the host.  

That is not the end of the Shark conservation though. Most of the world knows that the practice of shark finning is cruel and is having an unsustainable impact on shark populations in every ocean. The demand for shark fins drives this inhumane practice where the fins are cut off, while the animal is still alive, and the rest of the shark is thrown back into the ocean to die. This is disgusting!! 

Shark Fin Killings
(Photo from CNN)

The massive overfishing of sharks is largely spurred on by the market for their fins alone. Research indicates that upwards of 100 million sharks are killed each year and that 73 million of those are for the fin trade alone. Scientists are warning that existing populations cannot sustain this level of exploitation. Though shark finning is prohibited by federal and state law – demand coming from the U.S. continues to fuel the practice in foreign seas that do not enforce the same bans. Fins sold in the U.S. largely do not come from U.S. fisheries, but from China and Hong Kong where there is no way to track their origin. 

 This practice must end, which is why SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is teaming up with organizations like the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Humane Society of the United States to urge states to support legislation that would ban the possession, sale, offer for sale, trade or distribution of shark fins. Research indicates upwards of 100 million sharks are killed every year in the global shark fishery. The Guy Harvey Research Institute estimates 73 million per year for the fin trade alone. Members of SeaWorld’s animal care team recently joined a Guy Harvey Research Institute shark tagging expedition off the coast of Mexico, tagging six Mako sharks over the course of four days.  Those tagged sharks will be followed by students and researchers at Guy Harvey’s Institute at Nova Southeastern University, and can be viewed by the public online at www.GHRItracking.org.

One other conservation act that is currently going on is the need to help our coral reefs. Everything in our ocean has a purpose and a plan. You can’t take fish out or put random ones in and expect everything to be smooth sailing. Just like you can’t think what you flush or wash down a drain in Colorado to not, somehow, reach the ocean and/or reefs. Everything you do in your entire life leaves a footprint somewhere. Your choices eventually catch up with our beautiful oceans.

(From Purakai.com)
(Photo from Purakai.com)
 
One way you can help, that is very small yet very impactful, is what sunscreen you are wearing. I know probably sounds absolutely crazy to think the one thing that 99% of people wear in the ocean is actually harmful but it is! Choose a biodegradable sunscreen because many name brand sunscreens contain harmful oils and chemicals that damage coral reefs and marine plants and animals.  Every year between 8 to 12 million pounds of sunscreen washes off of swimmers and goes into our water, potentially smothering our coral reefs, clouding up the water, or is ingested by our local fish and marine life.  Most marine animals are mass spawners. Their eggs are buoyant and float to the surface. When the eggs hit a layer of sunscreen they’re pretty much toast. 
 
(Photo from Mercola.com)
(Photo from Mercola.com)
 
What are you looking for in a good eco friendly sunscreen? PABA free. Oil free too if you can, but PABA  & Eco Friendly are the main things. Most of the US companies now make these now. What is great, is that if you visit Discovery Cove, it’s already provided for you, from Caribbean-Sol, unlimited.
 
Here are 6 other Eco Friendly sunblocks:
  1. Coral Safe All Natural Biodegradable SPF 30 Sunscreen
  2. Tropical Sands Scented All Natural Biodegradable Mineral Sunscreen
  3. Tropical Sands All Natural Biodegradable SPF 50 Visible Mineral Sunscreen
  4. Beauty By Earth Mineral Sunscreen SPF 25
  5. Burnout Ocean Tested Physical SPF 30
  6. Panama Jack Eco Safe Sunblock
 
 
So what do I want you to take from all of this?
 

From the food we eat to the air we breathe, nearly all life on this planet depends on our ocean. That means conserving and caring for the sea and the animals living in it begins at home, and with us.

At SeaWorld they are taking action daily to protect animals and the wild wonders of world, and inspiring guests to take action and join them in that mission. While they are excited for the work that’s been done and the successes of Rising Tide Conservation, there’s much more work to do, and everyone can play an important role.

  • Visit your local accredited zoo or aquarium. Not only are they involved in important conservation work, but your visit helps ensure that work continues, and inspire your family to care for animals and our planet. Association of Zoos & Aquariums-accredited facility also participate in the Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) program. Learn more about AZA SAFE here: aza.org/aza-safe
  • Support conservation programs like Rising Tide, which are committed to protecting tropical fish and coral reefs. Plus, share information about reef fish population and the environmental challenges these animals and the coral reefs face with your friends and family, as well as local tropical fish groups.

 

Also, If you are looking to start a home aquarium, remember a few tips:

  • Research the fish you are interested in caring for and how they interact with other fish.
  • Opt for an aquacultured fish, instead of one collected from the reefs.
  • Saltwater aquariums can be tricky for beginners, so consider a freshwater aquarium instead.
  • For the well-being of your fish and other wildlife and their habitats, never release fish into the wild.
  • Buy sustainably-sourced seafood from your local retailers. Remember to ask them: “Do you sell sustainable seafood?” Let businesses know this is important to you. You can find additional tips from the Monterey Bay Aquarium here: www.seafoodwatch.org.
  • Take part in activities like Discovery Cove’s SeaVenture program – guests who participate in the SeaVenture program at Discovery Cove also directly help support Rising Tide Conservation, as the park donates five percent of every program purchased.
  • You and your kids can join the SeaWorld myActions team. The myActions platform is an innovative social network that offers you the opportunity to share the actions you take to protect the environment on a daily basis while inspiring and challenging your friends and family to do the same.

 

Also read:

  1. How SeaWorld Is Changing
  2. 5 Things You Need To Know For A SeaWorld Vacation

 

Sponsored  I was provided transportation, accommodations and entry in exchange for my honest feedback, however conservation of marine life is very important to me.