Many people know that we celebrate Earth Day on April 22. But did you know there is an international day that celebrates our world’s oceans? Officially recognized by the United Nations and celebrated every June 8 since 2008, World Oceans Day encourages us to come together to acknowledge the beauty and resources the oceans contribute to our everyday lives, as well as the importance of taking care of our global ocean.
For Californians, the spirit of World Oceans Day is already a big part of our state identity! Whether you want to hang ten while surfing in southern California, go whale watching in Monterey Bay, or grab a rod and license and catch a salmon in northern California, with around 1,100 miles of coastline, California is an ocean destination for residents and visitors alike! The theme for this year’s World Oceans Day is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) Marine Region is among the global leaders in innovative research and ocean resource management, which contributes to some of the most sustainable marine life populations in the world.
The Marine Region also recently unveiled the new Ocean Sportfishing Interactive Web Map, which provides a quick reference to California recreational sport fishing regulations that can be used with mobile devices. If you are wondering what the regulations are near you, or if you are out fishing, this map will help you follow the rules. Buy a license today, get out to one of the areas open to fishing, and catch a big one!
Another great way to celebrate World Oceans Day in California is by visiting one of your local marine protected areas, or MPAs. Uniquely designed through a public planning process led by the Marine Region that involved stakeholders, scientists, and decision makers, each of the state’s 124 MPAs are a vital part of a statewide MPA Network. However, we want everyone to stay safe, so make sure to observe local ordinances regarding coastal access and follow physical distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please celebrate the ocean responsibly!
If you decide to visit an MPA in person, consider snapping a photo and sharing it to your favorite social media platform using the hashtags #MPAMonday, #CaliforniaMPAs, and #WorldOceansDay. You can do even more by downloading the iNaturalist app and sharing your photos of plants and animals to the growing body of images helping to catalog California’s biodiversity! Even if you stay home, you can still learn about California’s MPAs through this video, and enjoy a virtual dive through an MPA by checking out these underwater videos!
However you choose to celebrate, just remember, World Oceans Day may only come once a year, but you can enjoy the ocean all year long. You can also rest assured knowing that CDFW, the Marine Region, and our partners are at work to ensure the ocean remains healthy for many years to come.
Post by CDFW Marine Region Staff