World Oceans Day event in Victoria educates and inspires

WatchWorld Oceans Day event at Victoria's Fisherman's Wharf lets people see and touch the diverse aquatic life in our seas. Tess van Straaten takes a look.

From sea cucumbers to killers whales, people of all ages are learning about the diverse — and incredible — aquatic life in our oceans.

“The oceans are the life-blood of the planet and it’s important for us to bring together as many people as we can to really help educated people,” says Brian Cant of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA).

The 7th annual World Ocean’s Day celebration at Victoria’s Fisherman’s Wharf took place Sunday.

It’s giving people a first-hand look at the damage we’re doing.

“We’ve learned we’re not doing a good enough job,” says Savannah Ferguson, a grade 4 student at St. Michael’s University School. “A lot of plastics go into the ocean, we’re causing climate change and there’s a lot of noise pollution.”

Ferguson and other grade 4 students from St. Michael’s are raising awareness and teaching others, after learning about how we’re harming the ocean.

“Factories burning coal and stuff like that, it’s releasing carbon dioxide into the air and the water traps the heat, which makes the ice melt and if the water level keeps rising, cities like New York could be flooded,” explains student Karen Pan .

“We’re fishing too many fish and we’re not giving them enough time to grow and reproduce,” adds classmate Ril Robbins. “But it’s hoped through education, people will do a better job of protecting the planet.”

But it’s hoped through education at events like this, people will do a better job of protecting the planet.

One of the most inter-active displays was an offshore killer whale skeleton that people could help assemble.

Offshore killer whales are the third eco-type of killer whales, after resident orcas and transients.

They eat sharks and because shark skin is like sandpaper, it grinds there teeth down and they’re quite distinctive.

“We’re just trying to inspire kids to be curious and understand these animals because no one gets to see these animals in the wild all the time, especially an offshore killer whales which live far away and are very elusive,” explains Michelle Segal of the Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society.

It’s one of the countless species that depend on our oceans being healthy.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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