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New License Plates Raise Money For Oregon Whale Research

Funds from sales of a new gray whale  license plate in Oregon have raised about 300-thousand dollars so far for OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute in Newport. The funds go to research, education and outreach. 

The plates went on sale on February 1 st, 2019. Marine Mammal Institute Director Lisa Ballance says the funds go to their research on gray whales that summer in Oregon coastal waters. Ballance says they hope to strengthen their whale entanglement response. Sometimes whales get stuck in fishing gear off the Oregon coast.

“Once an individual whale is entangled, it is highly unlikely to be able to free itself from the gear, yet if disentanglement responders can cut that gear off of the whales, they can return to healthy conditions and become once again part of the population.”

Ballance says they’re seeking a more long term solution to whale entanglements. But the more immediate fix is to have people out in the water who can literally save the whales.

Copyright 2020 KLCC

Rachael McDonald is KLCC's All Things Considered host. She also reports on a variety of topics including local government, education, and breaking news.