2019, 2020, 2021


Mystic, CT

Mystic Aquarium

Fishing Community Marine Debris Prevention Project

Ambassador Grant: ANTHONY KOTOUN

This project will activate a team of outreach advocates who will participate in targeted educational outreach campaigns and direct stewardship actions to engage the diverse populations of recreational fishermen in and around Newport, Rhode Island. The goal is to change behavior in order to prevent or reduce marine debris plastics, trash and fishing gear from entering water systems and causing detrimental environmental impacts. Designed to be a replicable model, Mystic Aquarium will share outcomes of this project with other coastal volunteer  networks along both U.S. coastlines. This grant is in partnership with 11th Hour Racing Ambassador Anthony Kotoun.


  • Build connections between diverse audiences and marine ecosystems while increasing interest in and knowledge about solutions and the importance of environmental stewardship.
  • Provide recreational fisherman and the local marine community with steps they can take to mitigate their impact on marine ecosystems.
  • Host four beach clean-up events along Rhode Island coastlines, at sites where recreational fishing regularly occurs. Data collected during cleanups on the amount of fishing-related litter will be compared before and after outreach activities as an indicator of behavior change.
  • Resources on marine debris impacts and reduction will be translated into appropriate languages to reflect target audiences, and volunteers will visit fishing areas and bait shops to disseminate this information on marine debris prevention.

About Mystic Aquarium

Mystic Aquarium, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is counted among the nation’s leading aquariums, offering exemplary care to a variety of species while also serving as the northeast’s premier marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center. Robust conservation and education programming along with unparalleled visitor experiences serve to strengthen personal connections to the animals and their environments. The mission of Mystic Aquarium is to inspire people to care for and protect the ocean planet through conservation, education and research, and introduces approximately 800,000 guests annually to thousands of animals through structured interpretations, specially-curated exhibits and hands-on interactions. As a leading research organization, Mystic Aquarium employs a full staff of scientists engaged in projects focused on the conservation and sustainability of our ocean planet.

Photo credit: Mystic Aquarium

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