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Sea Stewards Handbook Helps You Protect the Saltwater World

May 12, 2020

NOAA Fisheries guide offers personal strategies to make a difference for the ocean.


If you want to help the 70 percent of our world covered in saltwater, NOAA Fisheries’ new Sea Stewards Handbook has got you covered. It features an action plan with specific (and often surprisingly easy) steps to take in daily life that support the ocean and its marine life.

The handbook describes nine of the most serious issues facing our ocean today, such as runoff and marine debris, and relates them to our daily actions. The summary of each issue leads to three tangible ways for everyone to make a difference. These can range from using simple apps, to new ways of purchasing, to making minor changes around the house. Each section features a “making change” case study. They demonstrate how people around the world are getting involved and becoming leaders for ocean stewardship in their families, neighborhoods, and communities.

The handbook helps readers understand that many issues facing the ocean begin close to and at home. As rainwater and snowmelt run downhill, they carry everything—such as oil from cars, trash and debris on streets, and exposed soil—toward the nearest body of water. These pollutants concentrate in streams and rivers, ending up in the ocean.

In this downloadable handbook you will discover:

  • How watersheds connect our doorsteps to the ocean.
  • Nine big problems facing the ocean today.
  • Kids, teens, and adults who are ocean heroes.
  • Concrete ways to get involved and become a sea steward.
Page extract from Sea Stewards Handbook

Ocean Heroes demonstrate how we can all help the oceans in ways large and small.

The handbook began as a way to support our partnership with the Marina Del Rey Anglers, but has an even broader reach. It supports the Ocean Literacy Principles, Washington State’s Integrated Environmental and Sustainability K–12 Learning Standards, California’s Blueprint For Environmental Literacy. Parents can also use the handbook to share ocean stewardship with children.

“Especially right now, it’s easy to feel powerless,” said co-author Alicia Keefe, Education and Outreach Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region. “The Sea Stewards Handbook provides powerful knowledge to help people understand their impact on the ocean, inspiring stories of individuals who took action with positive results, and easy steps to restore and protect ocean resources. Examples, such as the Plastic Free Challenge and Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, show you how to get involved, starting at home.”

A lesson of the Handbook is that ocean advocates make a difference one step at a time. Over time, small changes—like refusing plastic straws, riding your bicycle, and educating others—can make a big difference. And these little actions, when multiplied by many people, can truly transform our impacts on the ocean.

You have a voice: use it on behalf of the ocean. Learn how in the Sea Stewards Handbook!

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Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on February 28, 2023