Because (most) humans do not actually live underwater, it is easy to forget the vast array and variety of aquatic animals that populate the oceans, seas, lakes, and other bodies of water on our planet!
Aquatic animals may be vertebrates or invertebrates. They may breathe air or extract oxygen through gills or the skin. And they may live in either freshwater or saltwater. But no matter what their differences are, one thing is for sure–aquatic animals deserve to be noticed and appreciated!
World Aquatic Animal Day is centered around humans taking the time to learn about and acknowledge the importance of all of these creatures who make their homes in the water.
History of World Aquatic Animal Day
Created in 2020, World Aquatic Animal Day was created by folks over at Animal Law Clinic at the Lewis & Clark Law School (Portland, Oregon, USA) who wanted to bring attention to the importance of aquatic animals to our societies and ecosystems. Widely used around the world, aquatic animals are often at risk due to the interactions humans have directly with the animals, or indirectly through the corruption of their habitats.
In addition to ‘fish’, the category of aquatic animals includes a variety of other creatures, such as mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic birds, starfish, corals, aquatic insects, amphibians, marine mammals, reptiles, and more.
The idea for World Aquatic Animal Day is to raise global awareness so that humans all over the world would band together to create policies, laws, education, and outreach that will help to protect these valuable animals. The hope is to elevate the status of these creatures so that people are more likely to take an active role in learning about and acting on behalf of them. Different ideas for protecting these animals continue to be featured, from plastic pollution to climate change issues.
Many organizations throughout the world participated in the first World Aquatic Animal Day in 2020, including Canada, Chile, Australia, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Croatia, Norway, Russia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and more.
The hope is that many more will join in for future days in the coming years. The more people who get involved, the better!
How to Celebrate World Aquatic Animal Day
Celebrating the animals under the sea is the idea of World Aquatic Animal Day, and there are tons of ways to do it!
Watch a Documentary about Sea Life
Getting educated about aquatic animals doesn’t have to be boring. Learning from film crews that have been deep-sea diving can be a thrilling way to see, enjoy and appreciate the myriad of animals that live in the water.
Try out these documentaries:
- The Blue Planet (2001). First airing on the BBC, this riveting series of shows gives a glimpse into life in the ocean. It was filmed in more than 200 different locations over a five year time period. And Sir David Attenborough’s voice over simply makes the ocean seem that much more compelling.
- Turtle: The Incredible Journey (2009). This film uniquely follows the life of one sea turtle beating the odds, from when she was hatched to facing the natural and unnatural threats that occur in the life of such a creature.
- Mission Blue (2014). Featuring the life and work of Dr. Sylvia Earl, a marine biologist and oceanographer, this documentary shows her life as it is dedicated to the study of the ocean, having spent thousands of hours of time in its depths.
- Life in the Blue (2016). Showcasing the extraordinary variety and range of life that exists in the expanses of the ocean, this documentary specifically targets what takes place just under the surface in a small band of 10 meter deep water. Whether looking for shelter or hunting and foraging for food, aquatic animals participate in a host of activities in this rather small space.
Host an Under the Sea Party
Get family and friends involved in raising awareness of the needs of aquatic animals by inviting them over for a party that dives deep into the theme. Make the place festive with sea-worthy decorations and play tunes from a water-themed playlist (see below).
Serve snacks and desserts that stick with the theme of honoring aquatic animals, including cupcakes adorned with gummy fish, goldfish cheese or graham crackers, cookies baked starfish shapes or a veggie tray organized in the shape of a rainbow fish.
Fruit treats are fabulous for sea-themed parties! Oranges can be easily fashioned to create the look of an octopus by partially peeling eight strips and then leaving them sticking out from the bottom. (Draw on eyes with a non-toxic marker.) Apples can be creatively sliced to appear as crabs, while banana halves can be adorned with an eye and the stem cut to look like dolphins. And a watermelon can be creatively carved to channel the look of a sea turtle!
Raise Awareness for Aquatic Animal Day
Get others involved in the issues facing these creatures by holding events at work, school, clubs or other places where the community gathers. Make posters, host lecturers, or create a family-friendly charity event where the money is raised to donated to underwater wildlife funds. Don’t forget to use your voice to let government representatives know about the need to protect these creatures by writing letters to ask them for better rules, regulations, and laws.
Put Together an Aquatic Animals Playlist
Getting into the groove of music is a great way to bring sea creatures to the forefront of the mind–whether alone or at a party! Gather some eclectic songs together in a playlist on Spotify or another music hosting venue and jam in honor of the aquatic animals.
Try some favorite songs such as these, or come up with other creative ideas:
- Too Many Fish in the Sea (1983) by The Marvelettes
- Under the Sea (1989) Soundtrack from The Little Mermaid
- Dead Sea (2012) by The Lumineers
- Sea of Love (1959) by Phil Phillips
- Across the Sea (1996) by Weezer
- Only the Ocean (2010) by Jack Johnson
- Deep Ocean Vast Sea (1989) by Peter Murphy
- Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay (1968) by Otis Redding