The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation was kind of a mouthful to say. And the organization announced this week that it is refocusing its mission, and changing its name — to the zippier New York Marine Rescue Center.
Over the past 23 years, the NYMRC team, based out of the buildings that also house the Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead, has responded to more than 5000 stranded seals, sea turtles, and cetaceans, and has successfully rehabilitated and released more than 1000 marine species. Only last month, the center responded to a shark-filled swimming pool in Dutchess County, where the owner was keeping the large protected species in a basement tank to sell. The sand tiger sharks are currently being rehabilitated by the NYMRC.
According to a press release, “the revamped mission and name change better reflects the conservation needs of the Greater Atlantic Region. NYMRC will remain the sole facility in New York State authorized by the state and federal government to rehabilitate seals and sea turtles rescued from New York waters.”
The new name is effective immediately and will be implemented throughout all aspects of the organization throughout 2019.
Recently, there’s been a noted increase in the seal population in the northeast Atlantic, due in part to this team’s ongoing conservation efforts. However, the four species of sea turtle that inhabit local waters are all listed as threatened or endangered and in need of critical support, due to entanglement, coastal development, plastic and other marine debris, climate change, ocean pollution, human consumption, and illegal trade.
NYMRC, for now, will shift its resources to better support the greater needs of these threatened and endangered sea turtle populations.
“With this new direction, we are rebranding our organization with a new name and logo to better reflect the work we do throughout all of New York State and the animals we support to allow us to have the strongest, most effective impact on these important marine conservation initiatives,” said Charles Bowman, board president of NYMRC.
“We do intend to continue responding to sick and injured seals and cetaceans as feasible and necessary and provide rehabilitation to those seals in need while increasing our support and capacity for endangered sea turtles. We are also planning to revitalize our rescue center tanks and equipment and to make renovations that will allow greater public viewing of the rescue center activities,” he said.
For more information, visit www.nymarinerescue.org.