Unless you’re planning to brave the cold and ice and visit Sointula this winter, you likely have a few months to go before your next Malcolm Island getaway. But while you may not be able to visit your favorite waterways in person as soon as you’d like, there are plenty of things that you can do from home right now to help keep them pristine, and to protect the diverse wildlife that call them home.

Keep reading to learn a few eco-friendly tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint and protect our world’s most important resource—our water.

1. Shop for Seafood Smarter

If you were forced to reschedule a fishing trip on Sointula this past summer due to COVID-19, you’re likely craving some fresh-caught salmon right about now. And while it is possible to buy tasty filets from a grocery store, it’s important to ensure that you’re purchasing sustainably caught or farm-raised fish.

Poor fish farming practices, and particularly salmon farming practices, causes a lot of damage to the surrounding ecosystems. Open nets are often placed in the open ocean, off the coast of places like Scotland. Salmon are raised in these pens, and are fed processed foods and given medicine to ward off sea lice. 

While it may seem that open nets in the salmons’ natural habitat is a good way to raise them, these nets allow waste to filter freely into the ocean. There is also evidence that it could contribute to the spread of sea lice to wild salmon in the same area.

Indoor circulating tanks help reduce many of these issues. There are some open ocean salmon farms that are working to reduce the negative effects of their pens. Seafood Watch offers a great resource for learning more about how to make sustainable choices when shopping for salmon and other fish.  

2. Consider Your Pet’s Diet Too

Your diet isn’t the only one that you should think about when you’re making sustainable choices. Many pet foods, both for dogs and cats, include a variety of types of fish. 

While these can be a healthy addition to your four-legged friend’s diet, you’ll still want to double check that the fish used are sustainably sourced. Unfortunately, this may take a bit of extra research to decipher. But understanding the source of your pet’s food is both a good way to protect the environment, and important to ensure that you’re protecting your furry friend’s health.

3. Lower Your Use of Single-Use Plastics

Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic makes its way into oceans around the world. Besides polluting our waterways, this plastic also presents a serious threat to wildlife that may try to eat it or become tangled in the debris.

Luckily, manufacturers around the world are beginning to recognize the negative impact of plastics. Many are converting their own packaging to more eco-friendly variations, or allowing consumers to refill existing containers.

There is no shortage of ways you can lower your plastic use at home. A few easy switches include:

  • Buying reusable plastic, rubber, or metal straws instead of single-use plastic ones
  • Using soap bars instead of body washes in plastic containers
  • Choosing reusable tubs and containers over plastic baggies or takeaway containers
  • Filling a reusable water bottle rather than using plastic bottles
  • Recycling single-use plastics that you can’t do without

4. Rethink Your Online Shopping Habits

If all that time at home has led to some online shopping, make sure that you aren’t accidentally harming marine life with your next purchase.

A variety of popular products, from jewelry to hair accessories to beauty products and household cleaners may be made from threatened or even endangered marine life. 

Real tortoiseshell hair accessories are made from the shells of Hawksbills Sea Turtles, which are critically endangered. Many consumers don’t realize that a variety of products, like some leathers, sandpaper, shampoo, or even supplements, can be made in part using different species of sharks and rays. Not only does this overhunting harm each individual species, but it also disrupts the food chain, which can in turn harm other species as well.

5. Make Sure That Your Next Vacation is Eco-Friendly

If you’re ready to start planning your next vacation, make sure that you’re choosing an eco-friendly option.

Rather than heading to a crowded beach resort, why not get up close and personal with nature with a visit to Sointula? Book a fishing excursion, and let local guides help you catch your own delicious wild salmon. Learn how to safely spot whales and other wildlife in their natural habitat. Or, enjoy other eco-friendly activities, like hiking, kayaking, or taking in a beautiful sunset.

Now is the perfect time to start planning your summer 2022 visit to Sointula. Check out our Travel Ideas guide to find the right activities to fill your next visit!