5 Ways to Enjoy (and Conserve) Belize’s Caribbean Sea from Home

by Carolee Chanona

Billions of people around the world, including 90% of the U.S. population, as of April 2, have been instructed to stay at home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. However that’s a lot of people who have suddenly found themselves stuck indoors. If cabin fever starts to set in, the ocean can be a source of inspiration and escape, even if you can’t see it in person. Below, find five ways that you can learn about, enjoy, and support Belize’s Caribbean Sea without ever having to leave home, thanks to Oceana Belize!

1. Download free ocean conservation lesson plans, games, and crafts for kids.

With many schools shuttered, parents have been juggling the roles of both educator and entertainer. Kids Environmental Lesson Plans – or KELP for short – are here to help. You can download a variety of fun and educational children’s activities for free on the Sailors for the Sea Powered by Oceana website. Find lessons on everything from coral anatomy to an explanation of why the ocean is salty. Click here to access the KELP Activity of the Day. Additionally, you can ownload Oceana’s latest Activity Book here.

2. Try a new sustainable seafood recipe.

Photo courtesy of Admiral Nelson’s Beach Bar – Victoria House’s palapa style beach bar.

Besides a selection of tasty and sustainable seafood recipes are on Oceana’s website, some of my favorites include Chef Jennie Staines‘ Lionfish Ceviche or Chef Sean Kuylen’s Crisp Skin Yellowtail Snapper Fillet. Not only is fish a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids, but if you stick to seafood that’s locally caught, you can also support domestic fishers. Don’t be afraid to try lesser-known species, and when in doubt, check for the Fish Right Eat Right program certification for verified sustainable seafood.

Chef Jennie’s Lionfish Ceviche from OCEANAbz on Vimeo.

Read more about the Fish Right Eat Right program on Page 40-41 in the Belize Gold Book here

3. Be inspired by incredible marine life.

Oceana’s Marine Life Encyclopedia is an online authority on all sorts of ocean animals and habitats. Enjoy reading up on all of the fascinating creatures that live deep below the ocean’s surface; some of which have seldom been seen by people – and prepare to wow your friends and family with little-known species. For instance, did you know that the White-lined Toadfish is endemic to Belize? Find these agressive little fish offshore central Belize in depths between five and 30 meters! Much of the ocean remains unexplored. Perhaps, as we learn more about the diversity of life that exists, we’re reminded how important its protection is. A perfect way to learn, while at home, about how you can enjoy the Caribbean Sea!

4. Dive into an ocean-themed book.

Looking for a new book? Many bookstores offer a delivery service, and most libraries have e-books that you can access remotely. However a few non-fiction reads recommend by Oceana are The Outlaw Ocean by Ian Urbina, and Plastic: A Toxic Love Story by Susan Freinkel. If you’d prefer an abridged version, which delve into the worlds of illegal activity at sea and the spread of single-use plastics, you can read our interviews with their respective authors: Urbina and Freinkel. For more recommendations, check out Oceana’s list of seven ocean-themed books to read.

5. Get involved.

Half Moon Caye cleanup oceana

Get involved as a (virtual) Wavemaker. Or when the time comes to do so safely again, participate in an ocean clean-up. Photo by A. Ellis/Oceana

You don’t have to leave home to make a difference. While tackling the COVID-19 pandemic is understandably every country’s top priority right now, threats to the abundance of our oceans persist and also demand our attention. Fortunately, with Oceana Belize, you can make your voice heard at home right now for the Caribbean Sea to enjoy it in the future. Have conversations with your friends and family about how we can all play a role in making sure Belize’s ban on gillnets is both decisive and meaningful. Alternatively, you can also support by becoming an Oceana Wavemaker, or by signing up for Oceana’s newsletter filled with uplifting stories. For a full list of ways that you can take action, visit this page.

Feature photo courtesy of Kevin Quischan Photography. This article was originally published and adapted from Oceana Belize.

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