The Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium will pair the Aquarium’s established reputation for applied marine research and data-driven conservation with strategic communication to inform global stakeholders on the most pressing threats to ocean life. We will use innovative research and our convening power as a public institution to advance cross-sector solutions—helping to build collaborations among scientists, policymakers, engineers, fishermen, conservation advocates, and the seafood industry.

Specifically, we will focus our efforts in the following areas:

Applied Research

Innovative applied research enables us to identify, validate, and characterize critical conservation problems, fill critical data gaps, and track progress toward solutions. We are committed to scientific integrity, transparency, and peer review. Our science will not be influenced by political or corporate agendas regardless of funding sources. We have a unique combination of expertise in field biology, veterinary medicine, and ecosystems management, and nearly 50 years of leadership in multiple research areas.

Technical Analysis and Development

Technical expertise and established academic and engineering partners enable us to analyze data to develop innovative solutions and best practices for reducing human-wildlife conflicts.

Stakeholder Engagement

Strategic partnerships and long-term, trusted relationships with many stakeholders—the scientific community, government agencies, fishermen, wildlife managers, non-government organizations—enable us to identify high-priority problems, develop data-driven solutions, and collaborate to drive adoption of science-based policy. We engage relevant stakeholders at all stages: when identifying problems and gaps in understanding, and in designing, testing, or implementing solutions. We will serve as a neutral convener on controversial topics, trusted to bring accurate science to the table.

Public Engagement

As a core part of the Aquarium, the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life will build on our longstanding capacity to educate the public, inspire a commitment to ocean conservation, and develop agents of change who can amplify the impact of our research. A robust, multifaceted communications strategy enables us to spread the word and support appropriate changes in practice. The Aquarium’s huge visitor base, and website and social media presence, enables us to reach multiple audiences—from scientists and decision-makers to the public.

Objectives

Our long-term strategic plan will focus on clear and compelling goals to support the Anderson Cabot Center’s advocacy for vital and vibrant oceans; these will include:

  • Advance science-based management of commercial and recreational fisheries to restore and sustain important and/or imperiled fish stocks in the North Atlantic Ocean in the face of ongoing direct fishing pressure and bycatch, as well as consequences from climate change. Through research and technical consultation, we will also provide solutions to drive more sustainable global aquaculture practices.
  • Building on recent successes, we will stabilize and restore the population of the iconic, endangered North Atlantic right whale by mitigating effects from multiple stressors—including fishing gear entanglement, noise, and climate change—and apply lessons to other marine mammal species.
  • From data generated from our strong synergistic research expertise in animal medicine and conservation physiology, we will provide key data that reduces the negative effects of multiple human stressors, and helps restore and/or increase the population resilience of various marine species, including sharks and sea turtles.
  • Build the scientific foundation for the permanent protection of critical marine habitats in the North Atlantic from commercial fishing, offshore energy development, and other pressures, and partner with other stakeholders to build public support.
  • Use the Aquarium’s distinctive experience in the South Pacific Ocean/Phoenix Islands Protected Area to advance science-based habitat conservation in the face of climate change.
  • Build capacity for marine conservation to protect highly vulnerable species and habitats in the developing world from the impacts of overfishing, habitat loss, and climate change through the expansion of our successful Marine Conservation Action Fund initiative.