Healthy oceans are vital to the animals who call them home and to the overall well-being of our planet. Here are a few things you can do to help.

Stop trashing the ocean

You probably wouldn't dream of dumping your trash in the ocean. But did you know that over-fertilizing your lawn could have an impact? Run-off from lawns and farms can pollute the ocean or other waterways. In fact, anything you dump into your sewer system can be harmful. Plastic bags, bottles, can rings, even plastic and helium-filled balloons can end up in the sea, and animals can die from ingesting or getting entangled in plastic. Dispose of all your trash and recyclables responsibly.

Leave Nemo behind

Nearly all the fish and other animals sold for saltwater aquaria are captured from the ocean. Not only can these animals suffer and die during capture and transport, but removing these animals can destroy coral reefs and damage entire ecosystems. Opt for captive-bred freshwater fish instead.

Flipping for Flipper

Who doesn't love dolphins? But before you visit a captive dolphin (or whale) show, or a swim-with-the-dolphin facility, think about what a life in captivity means for these sensitive, intelligent animals who, in the wild, travel for miles every day in open oceans. Go on a responsible whale or dolphin watch and see them in their natural setting.

Don't buy wild

The trade in wild animals—from shark fin soup to sea turtle shells to live birds—causes suffering and death for millions of animals.

Not enough fish in the sea

With the increasing human demand for fish and fish products, many species are being depleted at an alarming rate. If you do eat fish, consider the source and the type of fish before you buy. Due to mercury contamination, the FDA recommends against eating shark and swordfish meat.

There's an app for that

Since 2005, as part of the effort to get the Canadian government to stop the killing of baby seals, the HSUS and HSI have enlisted chefs, restaurants and other seafood providers in a boycott of Canadian seafood. Get the Protect Seals app to find participating restaurants and grocery stores where you live or travel.

It's melting

Arctic sea ice is disappearing due to global warming. Without sea ice, polar bears cannot hunt successfully and their numbers are already decreasing. Turn down your thermostat, eat less meat and conserve fuel to prevent further climate change.