Conservation volunteers are a big part of any ocean conservation effort. Every marine conservation volunteer works in a variety of ways, from cleaning beaches to monitoring water quality to collecting field data. If they are certified divers, they can even don a mask and wetsuit as part of a fisheries management program.
When it comes to both fisheries protection and fisheries management, many hands make light work. In 2017, volunteer conservationists donated over 130,000 hours to the national marine reserves. Her time corresponds to 65 full-time jobs. This work amounts to over $ 3,000,000 in cost savings that will be reinvested in other critical areas. 8,523 conservation volunteers have spent over 60,000 hours researching scientific questions that are critical to making informed decisions.
In many cases, volunteers can be up to 15 years old. Many helpful skills also do not require diving certification. Videographers, guides, graphic designers, and writers are also an important part of the mix. Some groups offer internships to help students meet graduation requirements. Others are as easy as picking up trash from a beach. Some opportunities for volunteer fishermen need to catch fish … and then mark them properly for future study. That sounds fun.
With programs around the world, a marine conservation volunteer can choose from a wide variety of projects. Some relate to studies of the quality of the ocean or water, while others revolve around species ranging from whales and sharks to wild fish and bait fish. Conservation is a fundamental process, so every part of the ecosystem is examined. In this way, scientifically sound research leads to good decisions.
In 2018, remember to donate some of your free time to nature conservation. With so many different conservation groups and options, finding a fit is easy. If you are short on time, it is enough to donate just one working day. And if we all do our part, our oceans and fish will be healthy for a long time to come.
Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, A New England Coast Fly Fishing Guide, was published in January 2011. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com or www.thekeergroup.com.