3 mins

5 sustainable ocean activities

In honour of World Ocean Day on 8 June, Sarah Riches explores five ways you can get hands-on experience helping sealife to thrive

Colourful coral (Shutterstock)

1. Save turtles in Sri Lanka

Saving turtles (Shutterstock)

Saving turtles (Shutterstock)

As well as being poached for their eggs, meat and shells, many turtles get entangled in fishing nets or mistake plastic in the ocean for food. So they need your help. Ahungalla Sea Turtles – near Galle on the south west coast of Sri Lanka – rescues and treats olive ridley, green, loggerhead, hawksbill and leatherback turtles, and it welcomes volunteers. You can volunteer for up to 18 weeks, but even if you just have a week to spare you can still pitch in. You might spend time burying eggs in a safe place to hide them from poachers, cleaning and feeding turtles and patrolling beaches to remove fishing nets and plastic.

For more information visit ahungallaseaturtles.com

2. Research dolphins in Italy

Monitor dolphin populations (Shutterstock)

Monitor dolphin populations (Shutterstock)

If you like to travel with a purpose, how does sailing the Italian coast in search of dolphins sound? If you can spare a week in summer, you can board a historic boat to explore the waters around the island of Ischia off the coast of Naples with the goal of recording dolphin sightings and their bioacoustics.

For more information visit goeco.org

3. Plant coral in Malaysia

A proboscis monkey in Malaysia (Gaya Island Resort)

A proboscis monkey in Malaysia (Gaya Island Resort)

Just 6km from Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia, Gaya Island Resort is hidden among Borneo’s protected mangroves. Guests can walk in the footsteps of Dame Judi Dench in Wild Borneo Adventure and visit Gaya Island Resort Marine Centre. Hop in a boat or make the 45-minute trek through forest to the centre, which works to rehabilitate endangered turtles and restore local coral reefs. Here you can browse display tanks of coral, visit an outdoor pool for turtles and learn about research programmes into proboscis monkeys and reforesting mangroves. You can get stuck in, too, helping to plant coral with a resident naturalist, snorkel with a resident marine biologist and kayaking through the mangroves.

For more information visit gayaislandresort.com

4. Spear invasive lionfish in St Lucia

Catch and sample lionfish in St Lucia (Jade Mountain)

Catch and sample lionfish in St Lucia (Jade Mountain)

A surge in lionfish in the waters around St Lucia is disrupting the local ecosystem, damaging coral and other species of fish around the Caribbean island. In order to control the lionfish population, guests at Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet are encouraged to pitch in with removing the intrusive species by signing up for an Invasive Lionfish Tracker course at Scuba St Lucia. On two dives, you’ll learn spear-fishing and netting techniques to help keep lionfish numbers down. Later on, you can dine on a six-course tasting menu around a bonfire on the hotels’ beaches. What’s on the menu? You’ve guessed it – lionfish.

For more information visit scubastlucia.com

5. Adopt coral in the Seychelles

Help to grow coral in the Seychelles (Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa)

Help to grow coral in the Seychelles (Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort and Spa)

You’ve heard of animal adoption schemes, but have you ever thought of adopting some coral? Coral is an animal too: it consumes food, digests it and moves independently, just like a dolphin or a penguin does. Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa unveiled an engineered reef in Mahé in the Seychelles in 2018 to regenerate and diversify the local marine ecosystem, and it continues to restore and protect local coral reef today. Launched in partnership with the Marine Conservation Seychelles Society, its coral nursery team help regrow coral on land before transplanting it to degraded and bleached reef sites, an initiative which has seen over 280 corals be introduced since its launch. You can get involved by snorkelling along the 650-metre coral trail to see the results of the conservation work or by adopting a piece of coral to track its growth and development once you’ve returned home. A new monthly sustainable day also encourages guests to be more sustainable by cleaning the beach, opting for meat-free meals or swapping the gym for a local Seychellois Moutya dance.

For more information visit seychelles.hilton.com

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