How To Help Marine Conservation in Australia

Having witnessed a heartbreaking deterioration in the health of our oceans over the years, restoration efforts are close to my heart. So I thought I’d share this guide on How to Help Marine Conservation in Australia, protecting this precious underwater world for generations to come.

 

Ocean Splendour

 

I’ve spent years capturing images on the Great Barrier Reef, and my love of the ocean and the amazing creatures that live there is one I can’t quite put into words. But seeing the health of the reef deteriorating and the endangered species list growing longer every year, I felt inspired to take action.

Over the years of my underwater photography career, and my partnership with the Australian Marine Conservation Society, I have learnt a lot about both the fragility of our oceans and what we can do to support marine conservation efforts.

So here, I wanted to share some ways we can all take everyday actions to help marine conservation in Australia.


Saying Goodbye to Plastic

Plastic is an incredibly convenient, versatile & durable material. But unfortunately, it’s these qualities that have made it a huge danger to ocean life conservation. Most plastics are made for a single-use before being discarded, and when discarded they often find their way into the ocean. 

Justin with 'Say No to Plastic' sign

 

Once in the ocean, it endangers our marine wildlife, and consequently us - as it ends up back on our dinner plates as microplastics. 

Blue’, the film, is a brilliant Australian made documentary that really highlights the magnitude of the problem. It's a beautifully made film and well worth taking the time to watch in my opinion.

On a personal level, we can aim to move towards a plastic-free lifestyle & society. By saying no to single-use plastic items such as straws, plastic bags and coffee cups, whilst also asking local governments to do their bit by legislating against these harmful materials. 

One thing I try to do on most beach trips is collect and carry a bag of rubbish out with me. 

Even organising larger ‘beach clean ups’ is a great way to get involved in marine conservation and make a positive connection with the local community. 


Too Rare To Wear

Overwhelmingly, my most popular pieces are turtle underwater photography. There’s something about these gentle creatures that draws us in. 

Sadly, Hawksbill turtles are now listed as globally endangered. According to the WWF Australia, in the last 100 years their population has declined dramatically. It’s estimated that there are only 4,800 breeding females left in the Pacific Ocean.

Serenity

 

This is largely due to illegal hunting for their shells, which are made into souvenir products - jewellery and hair products mostly. 

It’s often too hard to tell the difference between real and fake tortoiseshell, which is why the WWF recommends avoiding these products altogether as part of their ‘Too Rare To Wear’ Campaign. If you notice these products being sold, you can also report them to a local authority.


Jumping In

One of the most effective ways to help marine conservation is to donate. That donation could be offering support in the form of financial donations, but it could also be offering your time to help with a project, or volunteering your skills to help raise awareness.

The Australian Marine Conservation Society offers a number of ways to take action, including adding your signature to petitions and sponsoring wildlife rehabilitation and volunteering opportunities

I use my skills as a photographer to donate imagery that helps the AMCS promote its ocean conservation efforts & awareness campaigns. In this way, I help them create an impact - and you could do that too. Whether you can offer tech support, baking skills or anything you are good at. 


Connect & Share

As Jacques Cousteau once said, ‘People protect what they love.’ I believe that the more we can connect with the ocean and the creatures that live there, the more will be done about protecting them for future generations.

In a way, I like to think of my work as marine conservation photography. My passion is driven by the desire to replicate the awe, majesty & serenity that marine encounters make us feel.

 

My clients often say that hanging underwater imagery on their walls is a daily reminder of this amazing feeling. Not only can it remind us, but it can also spark a connection in others. Whether it’s a discussion over the dinner table or a post on social media - I believe that inspirational ocean art, whether it’s whale photography or a turtle portrait, can help further our drive to protect these beautiful creatures and their home. 

These creatures and their habitats deserve our protection. It’s time we took a stand for the animals that can’t do it for themselves.

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