Comments from Suzanne Thurman regarding the Mid-Atlantic Region Planning Board

Below is the speech given by MERR Institute’s Executive Director Suzanne Thurman regarding the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Board.

Mid-Atlantic RPB-BOEM comments


License plate hits the streets

The new MERR license plate is a reality.  It is now available at DMV as an official license plate for state residents.  The plate has a one time fee of $50.00, of which MERR will receive $35.00 per plate.  You can transfer your current plate number or vanity, and you don’t have to wait for your sticker to expire-DMV will prorate the new sticker if you want to get your plate right away.  For now you need to go to DMV, but the plates will be available online by the end of September.

To give you an idea of how great they look, the staff at DMV have already bought plates for their own cars!
Many thanks to our artist, Karin Snoots, for creating this beautiful license plate.  It will help to support our work for now and for years into the future, and will also serve as wonderful advertising for marine conservation, spreading this message throughout the roadways of America!  We also have to thank our wonderful legislators who made sure these plates got passed-Pete Schwartzkopf sponsored the plate in the House, and Joe Booth and Gary Simpson got it through the Senate.  The staff at DMV in Dover couldn’t have been more helpful, and we are so thankful that they worked diligently to get this plate through all of the layers of inspection so that it could meet the necessary criteria.  Great team effort!!!

MERR, by the numbers

Over 30 species of Marine Mammals and Sea Turtles occur off of Delaware’s coast each year, many of which are endangered or protected species. These marine animals utilize the area as a feeding ground for a variety of organisms that are part of our marine ecosystem. As Delaware’s only authorized stranding marine mammal and sea turtle response organization, we provide 24/7 stranding response for marine mammals and sea turtles throughout the entire state of Delaware. Here’s a few facts about us and what that entails:

  • 501(c)(3) public non-profit organization
  • 100 stranding responses each year
  • 36 species of threatened and endangered marine species occur in Delaware coastal and inland waterways:whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, manatees and sea turtles
  • Provide education/outreach programs to schools and the general public, reaching 10,000 participants annually
  • Conduct research pertaining to marine animal health and ocean health that impacts the local and the global community
  • Preserve human health and safety
  • Assist other states with stranding response and animal transport
  • Member of the Northeast Region Stranding Network
  • Volunteer-based organization

And here’s some more things you may not know:

  • Dollars MERR saves the State of Delaware each year-$450,000.00
  • Number of marine mammal and sea turtle species occurring in DE-36
  • Number of stranding responses in MERR’s lifetime-1200
  • Number of stranding responses for 2012-17
  • Number of participants in our education programs since 2000-120,000
  • Number of participants in our education programs for 2012-2,500
  • Number of Volunteers- 100
  • Number of hours on call since 2000-105,120
  • Weight of the largest stranded animal to date-60 tons (61’ Fin whale stranded in 2010)


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