The Marine Mammal Institute (MMI) at Oregon State University is moving forward with plans to qualify a new Oregon Gray Whale license plate. To do so, the Oregon Department of Transportation requires that the center has a commitment from at least 3,000 Oregon vehicle owners who sign up in advance to purchase this special plate.
The special plate will cost $40 more than regular plates initially and at renewal. The MMI will receive $35 of every $40 for each plate issued. These funds will support whale research, student training, and public education. Plus, the new plate will help celebrate gray whales and coastal tourism in Oregon by both whales and humans.
Once endangered from whaling, the gray whale population is now fully recovered. Each year the gray population migrates south to Baja, Mexico, to breed and then back north to feeding grounds in Alaska. A few hundred gray whales spend summers feeding here in the Pacific Northwest. We have gray whales off Oregon every month of the year.
If you would like to be among the first to have this new Oregon plate, please complete and submit a brief application which is available at mmi.oregonstate.edu/whaleplate. No money is required at this time. When 3,000 commitments are received and the plate is approved, you will receive a request for payment from ODOT and a plate voucher. More information on the Marine Mammal Institute, Hatfield Marine Science Center can be found at mmi.oregonstate.edu/whaleplate.
The effort to raise funds for the program is headed by Dr. Bruce Mate of the Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Also supporting the new Oregon license plate is State Representative David Gomberg who represents the Central Oregon Coast.