Conservation at the Aquarium
Our aquarists have learned to breed jellies from attached polyps,like these, to free-swimming adults.
Our aquarists collected local fishes to create native aquarium exhibits for the Belize Zoo in Central America.
We would prefer to breed animals at the Aquarium than to collect from the wild. We have captive breeding programs in place for over 50 different species, and we’re always trying to raise more. Our staff aquarists have been the first to raise several species of jellies outside the wild. They share animals and techniques with colleagues around the world.
We help aquariums here and abroad
We collaborate with aquariums and zoos in the United States and overseas. We’ve established sister aquarium relationships
with Tokyo Sea Life Park
and Aquamarine Fukushima
, both in Japan, and the Acuario de Veracruz
in Mexico. We’ve worked closely with the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center
in Central America to create its exhibits of freshwater native fish. We continue to provide annual support.
We also participate in the conservation and science programs of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums
, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation,
education, science and recreation.
We keep exotic species from escaping to the wild
Introducing non-native creatures into local ocean waters can have devastating effects on coastal ecosystems. In the past, even some public aquariums have contributed to the problem. While we exhibit primarily regional species, we do have some exotic species in our temporary exhibits. Today, our seawater outfall system has the highest treatment level at any aquarium, virtually eliminating the possibility that exotic organisms can escape into Monterey Bay.
Western snowy plovers
Cindy's Waterfront restaurant and the Cafe purchase and serve seafood from sustainable sources following the Seafood Watch guidelines.
Coho salmon, steelhead trout and chinook (or king salmon) once crowded California’s estuaries, streams and riversbut no longer.
Shorebird and seabird rehabilitation
Western snowy plovers are threatened shorebirds that nest on sandy beaches around Monterey Bay. When they’re disturbed by beachgoers, the parent birds sometimes abandon their nests, leaving behind unhatched eggs. In cooperation with the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, our aviary staff incubates abandoned eggs until they hatch and releases the young birds to the wild.
Our aviculturists released three snowy plovers that hatched here in May 2003 despite great odds as eggswashed out of their nest, abandoned by their parents and transported two hours from Half Moon Bay.
We also care for oiled seabirds, like common murres, when they’re rescued in the region. We find homes in our Coastal Wetland and Monterey Bay Habitats exhibits for birds that can’t go back to the wild.
Seafood from sustainable sources
We buy seafood to feed the animals we care for, and we serve seafood in our restaurant, Cindy's Waterfront, and the Cafe. The Aquarium's Seafood Watch program helps us make wise decisions about what we buy to ensure that the fish is the best choice for healthy oceans. By making the right choices and by providing visitors with consumer recommendations, we directly support sustainable sources of seafood: the fisheries and aquaculture operations that will maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems far into the future.
Stepping up for salmon
For years now, southern coho populations in California waters have been severely depressed by a series of catastrophic events (droughts, floods, El Niño). Genetically diverse stocks that can support repopulation efforts are at dangerously low numbers. The Aquarium in conjunction with the Monterey Bay Salmon and Trout Project was asked by the National Marine Fisheries Service(NMFS) to take part in a captive broodstock program for the southern coho salmon. During 1999, the Aquarium obtained 300 young salmon and held them in rearing tanks. These fish were reared to about 14 inches and returned to NMFS, where they were placed into local rivers (except for two fish now on display in our Monterey Bay Habitats exhibit).
Conservation is an Everyday Commitment
at the Aquarium
We believe it's important to "walk our talk" in the ways we do business every day. While there's no question that an aquarium takes lots of energy to run, we're working on many fronts to reduce our environmental footprint. Some of the conservation strategies we've already got in place include installing motion sensors and more efficient lights in our office spaces, replacing aquatic pumps with energy saving models, and regular power plant upgrades to increase the Aquarium's energy efficiency. We also have a comprehensive recycling program, and encourage our vendors to do the same. More than a third of our full-time employees carpool, walk, telecommute or bike to work and receive incentives like free bus passes and prime parking spots.
In our store, we won't sell dried seahorses, shells or other sea life, and our restaurants have phased out plastic water bottles and paper cups. Additionally, the Aquarium is currently pursuing a Green Business certification with the city of Monterey. We know there's always room for improvement so we'll continue to explore creative ways that we can "go green" at the Aquarium.
If you'd like more information about our specific conservation business practices, please contact us.
The aquarium promotes the use of alternative transportation through vanpools, carpools, ridesharing, public transportation and bicycles.