The Maria Mitchell Association Releases Denizens of the Deep at Annual Aquarium Release Day

Nantucket, MA – The Maria Mitchell Association, Nantucket’s Science Center, sent the marine creatures in its seasonal public aquarium back to the ocean with a spirited send-off on Saturday, September 3rd.
More than 300 people released 404 animals from the tanks to the edge of the Harbor behind the MMA Aquarium with the help of volunteers and staff. Release Day is an annual event for the MMA Aquarium as it prepares to close the facility for the season. These animals served as ambassadors to the aquatic world for the thousands of summer visitors to the Aquarium.
“We are excited when we catch specimens at the start of the summer season and are eager to share their natural history with visitors. This collection of fish, crabs, shellfish and even sharks, represents the biodiversity of Nantucket Harbor. We are just as excited to release them back to the Harbor at the end of the season. And from the number of people who were present, it is obvious that the public loves this annual ritual,” says Dave Gagnon, Executive Director of the Maria Mitchell Association.
During Release Day, a total of 211 fish were returned to the ocean, along with sixty-six crabs, four sharks, 111 shellfish and mollusks, and a dozen other marine creatures. At the event, the public were invited to make donations to the MMA Aquarium. The MMA Aquarium received a $15,000 matching grant from the Triad Foundation and nearly $6,000 has already been raised. The matching grant will be utilized for Aquarium improvements and marine research.
The Maria Mitchell Association is a private non-profit organization. Founded in 1902, the MMA works to preserve the legacy of Nantucket native astronomer, naturalist, librarian, and educator, Maria Mitchell. The Maria Mitchell Association operates two observatories, a natural science museum, an aquarium, and preserves the historic birthplace of Maria Mitchell. A wide variety of science and history-related programming is offered throughout the year for people of all ages.
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