Parents, on vacation, teach your kids to respect sea creatures!

Savona – Starfish, crabs, limpets and jellyfish: how many times during our beach holiday by chance we spotted these small and colorful creatures on the beach or on the shore, right next to us. For children, the attraction is fatal: all you need is a bucket and some seawater to immerse them in to get a closer look. The fish will be safe and our children will be able to spend a lovely afternoon with them!

No sorry, maybe the summer heat has muddled my ideas a bit. I thought our children should have a nice afternoon, but the poor sea creatures are not doing well at all. The problem of animal abuse on beaches is widespread almost everywhere and often it is precisely the parents who unconsciously push their children towards this practice, without imagining what the consequences of this action may be.

To tell about it, we have spoken to Susanna Manuele, member of the InforMare association of Diano Marina, who since 2012 has carried out training and information projects in Liguria to bring young people and adults closer some of the most important and at the same time most unknown ecosystems: marine. One example is the “Bucket Stop” campaign, which aims to educate and teach children, their parents and grandparents respect for marine animals.

“SECCHIELLO STOP“ON THE STANDS OF LIGURIA

“The campaign was adopted from the beginning by the humanitarian organization Lions Club of Diano Marina, which helped to print the information posters and postcards that we deliver to children on the beach”. The postcard is aimed at children and bears the inscription: “Help save the animals, don’t put them in the bucket! Tell your friends!“And that explains the choice of the postcard, which can be sent by post to whoever you want, in order to contribute to the chain of information.

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Are you interested in this article? Help us build new ones!

Since 2013, we have been telling, mapping and networking those who are taking action to change Italy in a direction of greater sustainability and economic, social, environmental and cultural justice.

We do this thanks to the contributions of our readers. If you think our work is important, help us build and disseminate more and more in-depth information.

“The practice of recovering marine animals in the bucket is destructive to the ecosystem for several reasons. First of all, these are exposed to stress due to their withdrawal; secondly, they end up being uprooted from their habitat and physically damaged in their structures ». Think of the crab with its sensory hairs; of the urchin, from which the ambulacral pedicels are torn off, no longer able to adhere to the rocks; we think of the starfish there when it is removed from its habitat, it is emptied of the water it contains and when it is put back into the sea it is full of air and risks a fatal embolism.

In the bucket, the children end up placing several animals together, which in this small space breathe and consume the oxygen present and risk dying of suffocation. “Each organism that we normally collect inside the bucket has suffered physical damage as well as stress due to the mechanical action of the sample. And then there are all the other consequences of this act, such as standing in a bucket full of water under the sun. The common tendency is to say “but I released him because I don’t want to kill him”. Of course, in the end the intention is never to kill him, it is a pity that in the summer the water in the bucket heats up to 40-45°, so all we do … is a fish soup ».

Stop bucket

Between the care of marine animals and “fish soup” there is an ocean in between. Precisely the sea, which is still not talked about enough in schools, and which has led us to a real lack of education. “In school today, the forest as a habitat has arrived while we know the basic information of the ocean, but everything that happens below its surface is unknown to us. The problem is that no one has ever taught us anything about the oceans. So poseidonia we end up calling that algae and we get mad if we find vegetables on the coast while we are calm and peaceful in the middle of cigarette butts. This is an aberration and solving it by raising awareness is the minimum wage ».

Susanna Manuele then reports other data: “When the animals are released into the sea it is estimated that 90% will be dead within 24 hours or will become easy prey for a passing organism”. Then there is another important aspect to consider: almost all species reproduce in the summer period, including many of the invertebrates caught near the beaches. “In July there is a day when the starfish together emit female gametes: if we take a starfish that was about to emit gametes, we don’t kill one, we kill a thousand”.

We get mad if we find vegetables on the shore, while we are calm and peaceful in the midst of cigarette butts

THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES TO THE FINE!

The Bucket Stop campaign wants to learn all this and explain the function of marine ecosystems and their balances in a scientific way and easily understandable to everyone. It shows, for example, that the alternatives to the bucket are there and not destructive at all. “It is legitimate for children to be curious, they have the right and duty to learn and know the sea, because unfortunately they know too little about it”.

To learn to understand it, the InforMare association’s alternative is direct observation: “In schools we learn that even in the cold season, walking on a beach or on a cliff, we can pause to observe marine organisms on the surface and thus accompany the students to get to know them without touching them. Of course, the observation can also take place in the summer: just put on a diving mask and, without even diving, you can lower your face to the surface of the water and observe the species that roam the coast or on the rocks ». That with observation it is a very important stage because it allows us to visit a natural ecosystem – or rather several ecosystems – while respecting its balance.

Stop2 bucket
ENVIRONMENTAL SENSITIVITY TRAINING IN YOUNG PEOPLE AND ADULTS

On the beaches of Liguria, the fruits of the work of Susanna Manuele and the InforMare team can be seen: “In Cervo, some boys used flower pots, filled them with pebbles and wrote “portacicche” on them. They have spread the entire free beach as a good practice for the period when the shores will be invaded by tourists. As every year in Cervo, we have begun a work of marine and coastal environmental monitoring, and we think we hope that our activities have stimulated the children in this gesture of care ».

InforMare’s association with this campaign touches an exposed nerve: ignorance, understood as a “not knowing”. “When I was younger no one came to school to tell the value of Posidonieto or the balance of the sea. I was lucky: my parents taught me total respect for nature and I have grown up in the sea since I was 0. Now I want to make people fall in love with the sea, just like I am’.

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