No matter where you live, we all have a responsibility to look after our precious ocean life. Canada has the longest coastline of any country in the world and we can all do small things to help protect our amazing ecosystems and the animals that call them home.

Little things can make a big difference for the little (and enormous) creatures who share our planet. Here are five simple ways you and your family can help — whether you’re in the prairies, Ontario, Quebec, or on one of the coasts.

1. Avoid single-use plastics. Any form of plastic, no matter how small, can cause harm to marine life like birds, fish and turtles when they eat it or become entangled in it. Bring your own grocery bags, carry a reusable water bottle and skip the straw.

2. Cut looped plastics. Anything that forms a circle, like six-pack beverage rings, plastic bag handles or packing straps from shipping boxes pose a threat to curious birds, seals and sea lions who can become entangled.

3. Pick up five items of trash. Every time you go to the beach, lake or other body of water, clean up the area around you and keep trash out of the bellies of seabirds.

4. Don’t release balloons. After fishing gear, the most common material found entangled on marine life is balloon, especially those released in bunches.

5. Report it if you see an entangled animal or lost fishing gear. A global network is ready to help. To report an entangled animal, contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans at 1-800-465-7735.

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