Moderator Martina Hirschmeier and Cornelia E Nauen (r) on stage after a presentation of the fish quizLove your ocean - the ocean needs YOU! That was the message of the science camp with lots to discover thanks to an exciting programme at the shared space by more than 30 conservation-minded projects, companies and civil society organisations. The Boot fair in Düsseldorf, Germany, celebrated its 50th anniversary from 19 to 27 January 2019 with making a point for ocean protection. The management, in coordination with the German Ocean Foundation, offered this space around a big whale. Q-quatics and Mundus maris hosted the fish sound quiz of FishBase and other activities and contributed to the stage programme, spreading information and ideas for concrete marine protection and sustainable small-scale fisheries.

In 11 huge halls making up the fair about all aspects of aquatic leisure - from luxury yachts to diving equipment and nature exploration - visitors could delve into the marine world. Some 60,000 came during the first day, but the sheer size and number of exposition spaces avoided overcrowding.

Interest in the fish sound quiz was highest among childrenHall 14 with the "love your ocean" space and an island of hands-on science attracted many visitors throughout the duration, including lots of school classes many of which had scheduled visits of the 'Maritime class room' organised by the popular Aquazoo Düsseldorf, just behind us.

On the way, many visitors stopped to discover that many fish species do make sounds. So, the ocean is not a silent oasis. It is full of sounds from the waves and its inhabitants, including fish. It is better known that marine mammals like whales and dolphins use sound to orient themselves and communicate over thousands of kilometres with one another. The mysterious songs of humpback whales and clicks of bottlenose dolphins could be heard at the booth as well. Noise pollution from massively increased maritime traffic and explosions used for mineral exploration are a major threat to them and are believed to have provoked many strandings.

Kids were particularly keen to get all underwater sounds right to have their discovery passports stamped, then moved on to the next "station" of the science camp, like the plastic fighter desk of the University of Bayreuth or the discovery station of life in the tidal zone by the German Ocean Foundation.

The Fish Sound Quiz is also freely available on the FishBase website. So you can try it at home or on a mobile device. In nature, fish often generate the sounds with the swim bladder and / or pharyngal teeth, but sometimes also by other organs or by slapping on surfaces.

Sounds can be generated in several different situations, e.g. in competitive feeding, to warn others about the arrival of a predator, to protect territory and much else.

Many fish species can hear and produce sounds, though the majority of the 34,000 species recorded in FishBase have not been investigated for these capabilities. Sounds are difficult to record and require sensitive hydrophones, that is microphones that record sound waves under water.

The sounds may be difficult to attribute to individual species when several are present in the same place.

The quiz never failed to fascinate especially the young visitors. Volunteers of Quantitative Aquatics and Mundus maris, including biologists from the University of Düsseldorf disguised as Neptun and mermaid, were eye catchers and fun for the team and the visitors.

Another installation transforming waves created e.g. by hitting an object under water into sounds one can hear in the air thanks to a hydrophone fascinated visitors. Sounds in water presented by sound artist Konrad Zimmermann of H2Eau were a hit.

Besides the fish quiz, we distributed information materials and fish rulers. Fish rulers indicating the minimum size at which major commercial species in the North Sea and Baltic reproduce provide help to consumers wanting to avoid being "cheated" and drawn into buying baby fish without realising. Everybody knows you need to let the babies grow to continue enjoying delicious seafood.

The fish rulers triggered a lot of interest and discussion. They were also much in demand from teachers in search of pedagogical support tools, once they had spotted them.

Sound artist Konrad Zimmermann of H2Eau in actionParticularly during weekends a steady flow of people was interested to discover novelties through the many offers for interaction at the "love your ocean" space. Nearby on stage, a full programe of films, interviews and performances went on all day. The Fish Sound Quiz of FishBase managed by Q-quatics and work by Mundus maris was presented several times during the week. 

Partners on the booth included also such projects as "Bracenet", an initiative which recovers lost fishing nets to reduce ghost fishing. Ghost fishing is considered a significant threat to marine fisheries resources as they remain in the environment for hundreds of years according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The European Union obliges fishers to mark their nets so that they can be identified when retrieved in an effort to increase preventive action.

When finding unidentified nets, the Bracenet team cuts up them up and turns them into new products, such as bags and bracelets to generate funds for ocean protection. This sort of upcycling is coming more into fashion as more and more organisations and individuals seek solutions to the plastic plague in the ocean.

Of course, given the sheer size and volume of the ocean, only modest quantities of plastic items dumped or lost can be retrieved in any cost-effective and energy-efficient ways. So prevention is really the highest priority.

A much coveted ocean forum on Tuesday and the ceremony of "Ocean Tribute" for merits in ocean conservation recognising leaders from science, industry and society is co-sponsored by Boot Management, the German Ocean Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.

Last but not least, as part of the coalition Make Stewardship Count, we were happy to have members on stage on Sunday 27th. The coalition aims to reform the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and clean up the conflict of interest that provokes continued certification of fisheries that don't meet the basic criteria of good fisheries management and sustainability. This time the coalition was on stage with representatives from Stop Finning, Gesellschaft zur Rettung der Delphine, Deutsche Meeresstiftung (German Ocean Foundation) und Deutsche Stiftung Meeresschutz.

The creativity and commitment to ocean conservation of the numerous partners at the "love the ocean" space and among the diving crowd in Hall 3 was proof that the formula of science, industry and society was pertinent and attractive. The message of the urgency of action is gaining speed and breadth. All eyes are already on the next public events, possibly in Berlin in September this year and an even bigger effort for the Boot fair in early 2020.

But most importantly, show that YOU love the ocean every single day of the year in how you produce, consume, live!