On the 8th of June every year, we celebrate World Oceans Day. For those of us who love nature and the ocean, every day is Oceans Day; however, for those who perhaps aren’t as great of fans of the ocean, this day serves as a wonderful platform to heighten ocean awareness around the world.
I’m very fortunate to be able to do extension education in this field. I am able to work with like-minded people to teach all sorts of audiences, and I always say that if I have taught one person just one thing, it is a success (obviously, I try for more!). All Extension Agents learn new things every day about our specialties, and we take that knowledge and turn it into information that will help even the longest-time Florida residents.
An example of this is one of our newest programs, the Florida Friendly Fishing Guide certification program. This is a voluntary program intended for charter fishing captains and their crew. It provides a more in-depth look at fisheries ecology, management, and ethical fishing practices. Not only does this allow guides to up their knowledge and create a higher level of environmental stewardship, once they have completed their course, their business will be listed as Florida-Friendly certified on the Florida Sea Grant website. The ultimate goal of the program is that by learning more, the fishing guides will be able to keep doing their jobs in a way that will promote longevity of the fish species that they catch, while teaching their clientele. Neat, right?
This year’s Oceans Day comes at an interesting time, as Florida and the rest of the world are slowly beginning to re-open after changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Miami-Dade residents have commented about unique viewings of wildlife that they’ve recently experienced, most likely due to us slowing down and letting nature reveal itself. I hope that these experiences will stay with us and inform our future decisions, from observing no-wake limits and fishing regulations, to choosing to refuse a straw or plastic bag. Remember, every day is Oceans Day when you live in Miami.