The ocean is a vast place, filled with delicate ecosystems and creatures that are some of the world’s most wondrous and awe-inspiring. Before people purchase certain products, they should be aware of where they came from and if they’re marine animal products that have been harvested in a way that’s harmful to the ocean.
Cosmetics with Squalane
Some cosmetics are made using an ingredient called squalane, which comes from shark liver oil, because it’s a great base for items like moisturizers, deodorant, and lipstick. It’s non greasy and makes skin soft without an oily after feel. The kinds of sharks that are most commonly killed are notoriously slow breeders, meaning they can’t replenish their populations, putting many of them on the threatened species list.
In order to harvest coral, harvesters must have a permit allowing them to gather it from the ocean. These are difficult to get, so most places that sell coral jewelry haven’t used permits and are likely to have obtained these pieces of coral from illegal sources. Not only does this deplete the coral and its ability to reproduce, it also negatively impacts the ecosystem that depends on the reef habitat to survive.
Sea Turtle Products
Six of the seven species of sea turtles are currently endangered or critically endangered. All international trade of marine turtle products is banned, so even if a seller tells you their products have been obtained legally, it is likely that this is not true. While some nations still harvest sea turtle eggs for consumption, it is a good idea to stay away from places serving them as well.
Tasty little shrimp are a widely popular marine animal product across the globe, but they are rarely caught without catching many other sea creatures in their nets, known as bycatch. Per one pound of shrimp, there are five pounds of non-shrimp species caught in the nets. These species are killed, injured, or dumped back into the ocean where their likelihood of survival can be slim to none.
Chilean Sea Bass & Bluefin Tuna
Chilean sea bass and bluefin tuna have been heavily overfished and according to marine scientists, their stocks are near collapse. They’re just two of the many species of big fish left in the ocean, but it’s important to remember that large species play a crucial role in the oceanic food web, which affects life on land simultaneously. Biologists project that if the fishing of these two species halts for a prescribed amount of time, they could once again flourish and populate enough to be sustainably fished again.
If you are passionate about the environment, do what you can to ensure your money isn’t going to support the illegal or unethical trade of marine animal products. Your money is better spent with organizations and vendors that support the proper care of our world’s oceans.