At the Aquarium
Together with visitors, teens, fishermen, teachers, scientists, students, legislators, and industry leaders, the New England Aquarium worked to protect the blue planet in 2019.
Over 1.3 million tickets sold, protected the blue planet
This year, more than a million tickets to the Aquarium supported not only the animals in our care who help inspire ocean protectors, but also helped finance research we do to solve ocean challenges and our rescue and rehabilitation work with endangered and threatened species.
New exhibit inspired coral reef protection
The Aquarium opened in April a dazzling new Indo-Pacific coral reef exhibit that helps visitors learn about these “rainforests of the sea” that are essential to supporting thousands of species of fish, sea turtles, sharks, and other marine life and inform visitors about what they can do to protect coral reefs worldwide.
Historic birth chronicled
In the summer, the birth of two anaconda in an Aquarium exhibit of only adult females kindled excitement around the world. DNA testing confirmed the babies were produced by nonsexual reproduction, an extremely rare reproductive form called parthenogenesis.
More than 2,000 advocated for conservation
This year, a couple thousand visitors sent postcards to members of Congress asking them to support strong, science-based fisheries management policies and protect the highly endangered North Atlantic right whales.
Twenty-one teens led the way
In September, 21 of the Aquarium’s ClimaTeens marched as part of the Youth Climate Strike in City Hall Plaza, joining millions of youth worldwide to call for global action on climate change.
Nearly 200 sea turtles (including Munchkin) rehabilitated
As part of the Aquarium’s rescue and rehabilitation work with endangered and threatened sea turtles, more than 195 hypothermic turtles were treated at the Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital in Quincy this fall after stranding on Cape Cod beaches. Earlier this year, we released Munchkin, a 330-pound loggerhead rehabilitated in Quincy, and we’re tracking her using a GPS satellite tag to learn about her behavior in the wild.
Global network activated
Through the Marine Conservation Action Fund (MCAF), the Aquarium supports emerging conservation leaders in developing countries. Some of those leaders are named MCAF Fellows, and this fall 11 Fellows came to Boston for the inaugural (MCAF) Fellows Summit, where they shared their projects with business leaders and conservationists.
Solutions reduced humans’ effect on marine animals
The Aquarium’s Anderson Cabot Center offers science-based solutions to mitigate human impacts on our oceans and its marine life. Our researchers in 2019 teamed up with Massachusetts lobsterman Marc Palombo to test a new ropeless lobster pot system to reduce the danger of entanglement for whales, studied discard mortality of the Atlantic cod to produce best capture and handling practices, and partnered with Mass Marine Fisheries and universities on the creation of recommendations for the recreational fishing industry to support the preservation of local fish stocks.
Legislation progressed to SAVE endangered species
The Aquarium has been a vocal supporter of the Scientific Assistance for Very Endangered (SAVE) Right Whales Act, which would provide funding for the public and private sectors work together to protect North Atlantic right whales. The act was voted favorably out of the Senate Commerce Committee on November 13.
Conservation efforts advanced
In 2019, the Aquarium testified at a Massachusetts State House hearing in support of House Bill 771 and Senate Bill 462 to reduce plastic bag pollution, sharing the negative impacts of plastic pollution on our local wildlife. The Aquarium also partnered with City of Boston on the Zero Waste Boston initiative that calls for expanding the city’s composting program, increasing access to recycling opportunities, and launching a citywide recycling education campaign.
Marine areas protected, surveyed
A federal appeals court upheld in December the designation of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. The Aquarium provided strong scientific evidence that helped in the establish this area as a national monument and conducts regular aerial observations to survey marine life.
Efforts combined to track whales
The Aquarium announced in October a collaboration with nonprofit engineering company Draper that will commit $1 million to developing new methods for monitoring whale populations from space. Combining data from several sources, including satellite, sonar, and radar, the new technology will enable scientists to survey whales in remote regions of the ocean.
Partnerships championed ocean conservation
The Aquarium affiliated with several companies in 2019 to help protect the blue planet. Boston-based beverage company Proud Pour developed Cider for Sea Turtles with 13 percent of its top line revenue being donated to the Aquarium’s sea turtle program. The New England Revolution soccer team helped promote ocean protection and conservation as team players joined a beach cleanup effort, honored our sea turtle rescue staff, and auctioned a special team jersey to benefit the Aquarium. Gorton’s Seafood celebrated 10 years of partnering with the Aquarium to bring sustainable seafood to consumers, and Phillips Chocolates sold special boxes of turtle chocolates with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the Aquarium. As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, Trillium Brewing launched For the Sake of the Sea, a craft beer that raised more than $10,000 for the Aquarium. New sustainable “blue-tech” ocean ventures will benefit from a partnership between SeaAhead and the Aquarium that will provide grants to entrepreneurs to encourage ocean innovation.
Aquarium committed to accessibility for all
The Aquarium strives to be open, accessible, and inclusive to everyone. Recognized in 2019 as an Autism Welcoming Business by the Autism Alliance, the Aquarium opens early and provides a quieter experience on several Sundays a year exclusively for people with sensory processing needs and their families.
Lectures educated, inspired, entertained
The Aquarium continued its popular lecture series in the spring and fall. With support from the Lowell Institute, the series is free and open to the public and tackles contemporary topics by scientists, environmental writers, photographers, film producers, and others.