An Aquarium conservation expert
holds juvenile fishes raised in a sustainable
The Aquarium’ mission is to serve as an ocean steward. We promote conservation efforts and undertake applied research that helps us understand the potential impacts of climate change on ocean animals. We look for ways to mitigate or reduce these impacts by supporting right whale research and lobster research. Aquarium educators are also collaborating with other institutions nationwide to teach the public about global climate change, working with seafood wholesalers to encourage them to buy sustainable seafood or by creating marine protected sanctuaries to reduce stresses on coral reefs affected by climate change.
An Aquarium researcher dives with a
manta ray in the Phoenix Islands.
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How does the Aquarium support one of the world’s biggest marine reserves?
Nearly a decade ago, a dive boat captain based in Fiji invited Greg Stone, a marine biologist and at the Aquarium's vice president of global marine programs, to visit the Phoenix Islands. This remote coral reef archipelago, located between Hawaii and Fiji, was swarming with reef fish and giant clams, including many species that were rare or unheard of elsewhere. According to Stone it was “the first time I had seen what the ocean may have been like thousands of years ago.”
In 2000 and 2002, Stone and other marine biologists cataloged coral and the fish species that lived on the reef. In 2001, Stone and the Aquarium proposed that the area be set aside as a reserve. He also called on Conservation International, a U.S.-based environmental group that raised money to offset the income that would come to the islanders from commercial fishing that would now be curtailed. Anote Tong, the President of Kiribati— the island nation that includes the Phoenix Islands protected area (PIPA)— and a graduate of the London School of Economics, was supportive of the project, seeing it as a way to both protect his island nation and support eco-tourism. For his work, Greg Stone was recognized by The Boston Globe as a “savior of the seas.”
Today, scientists use the marine reserve to study the life of coral reefs, both healthy reefs and those that have been affected by over-fishing and the potential impacts of global warming on coral reefs “with no other man-made factors present.”
According to the article “Our Imperiled Oceans: Victory at Sea,” which appeared in Smithsonian, the reserve is one of the planet’s ecological bright spots, the boldest, most dramatic effort to save the ocean’s coral reefs, the richest habitat in the seas.
How does the Aquarium support right whale research?
How does the Aquarium support research on our local lobsters?
How are Aquarium educators collaborating with other institutions to teach people about global climate change?
The Aquarium, collaborating with other aquariums across the country, is leading a national effort to enable aquariums to effectively communicate the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on marine animals. Read more.
How is the Aquarium educating local fish distributors about the benefits of sustainable seafood?
Today, many species have been fished to near extinction and some seafood is caught or produced in ways that harm the environment. Through the Sustainable Seafood Programs in our conservation department, the Aquarium is working to help maintain healthy fish populations while supporting the fishing industry.
The Aquarium works directly with seafood buyers and sellers, such as Ahold USA, Stop & Shop's parent company, and Gorton’s, to help these companies make environmentally responsible seafood choices for their stores. We also educate consumers on which fish provide the best seafood choices and sponsor events, such as the Celebrate Seafood Dinner Series, to highlight sustainable seafood.