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Right whale fluke 031313 - aerial

CSS Image, NOAA permit #14603

Wish your license plate was more identifiable? Want to save whales? Well, there is a way to achieve both of these at once. Perhaps the old saying about hitting two birds with one stone should be “do two cool things with one easy payment to the RMV”.

You’ve probably seen this specialty plate before; a whale tail protruding from the water. But the plate is more than just a soothing seascape; it’s for a good cause. Proceeds from the special plate fee (of just $40 every two years) go toward the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET).

This plate has generated over $18 million since it was first issued 20 years ago.

Photo courtesy of the EEA

But how do these plates help whales? Good question. The Trust supports the teams that disentangle whales from fishing gear and other marine debris. Furthermore, through aerial assessments, they locate whales to prevent strikes from large ships. Lastly, they conduct vessel based studies, to ensure that not only are we doing all that we can to protect the endangered whales in the Massachusetts Bay and to ensure that their food supply is secure. The endangered roseate tern, which is seen flying in the background of the plate, also needs a healthy marine ecosystem in order to thrive.

To get a plate, visit the Registry of Motor Vehicles Website, click “online services”, and then “order a special plate”. If you don’t like whales – no problem. You can still support the aquatic environment with a Blackstone Valley Mill or the leaping Brook Trout license plate. Plates are also available in all Registry branches.

In addition to helping the whales, the MET funds water projects in areas such as ecosystem restoration, water quality improvement, and environmental education. If you are interested in seeing where the money goes, a list of the most recent projects can be found here.

These plates do make a difference. Get yours today!

Written By:


Nicole Levin is a rising senior at Harvard College where she studies government. She is an editor for the Harvard Crimson and writes for the Harvard Lampoon, a comedy magazine on campus. She is from Fairfield, California, home of the Jelly Belly Factory and her dog, Baby.

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