Celebrating the Oceans

Karen Wells
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Fogo Island building on World Oceans Day momentum

FOGO ISLAND — The oceans sustain and impact much of our lives on this planet. In recognition of the importance of these magnificent bodies of water, World Oceans Day celebrates our connection to the ocean and encourages us to protect this great resource.

Children were eager to get their hands on the assorted sea life in the touch tanks at the Fogo Island Interpretation Centre.

Fogo Island began their Oceans Day celebration on June 7 with an island-wide beach cleanup. Residents from communities throughout Fogo Island rolled up their sleeves and joined in the effort.

“We put up notices in stores and key locations around the island,” said Town of Fogo Island director of Recreation/Heritage/Culture and Tourism, Alexander Crawford. “We had a sign up sheet, with community leaders in every community. It was promoted in the school so there was a lot of involvement from all ages. So I’m very happy and I would encourage people to keep it going.”

A presentation took place at school the day before the fourth annual cleanup.

“One of the things we tried to instill in the children was everyone can make a difference by picking up even one plastic container – that’s one container that’s not going in the ocean or on the coastlines,” said Crawford. “If one person stops throwing their garbage out one day, then maybe the next day another person will stop doing that as well and so on.”

The cleanup resulted in around 10-15 garbage bags full of waste being collected in each of the 10 communities on Fogo Island. Some steel and other materials were also removed from the shoreline.

The Shorefast Foundation also partnered in the World Oceans Day events on Fogo Island.

“People seem to have a better understanding of what Oceans Day is all about in tying in the beach cleanup with activities,” said Shorefast Foundation chair Gordon Slade. “This is something important and we could see that people are paying more attention to it by the amount of work that was done in cleaning up the beaches. It’s a good feeling about what we are doing here in terms of the health and protection of the ocean.”

The afternoon events for World Oceans Day featured festivities at the Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Centre with a touch tank, music, food (including a chowder made from fish caught in cod pots) and presentations including one by Dr. Bill Montevecchi, a Research Professor at MUN and authority on seabirds. (Look to the Pilot next week for more on his presentation and work in collaboration with the Shorefast Foundation.)

Slade said in the coming months there would be more topics pertaining to the oceans addressed through the New Ocean Ethic initiative introduced by the Shorefast Foundation. The Pilot recently featured an article about the New Ocean Ethic. In the coming months there will be subsequent articles on topics such as cod potting, citizen science and a Fogo Island ocean atlas.

“We will be introducing a lot of interesting topics to the people of Fogo Island and guests,” Slade said.

Crawford extended his appreciation to the Shorefast Foundation for their partnership in the annual World Oceans Day on Fogo Island, as well as the Fogo Island Harbour Authority, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Scotiabank.

 

editor@pilotnl.ca

 

Organizations: Shorefast Foundation, Fogo Island Marine Interpretation Centre, MUN Fogo Island Harbour Authority Department of Fisheries and Oceans Scotiabank

Geographic location: Fogo Island

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