CHATHAM – Three and a half years years of work by Cynthia Wigren, executive director and co-founder of The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, paid off this fall when the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced that the great white shark license plate sponsored by the non-profit group had reached the state's pre-order minimum.
The new plates, with a design featuring a great white shark, two striped bass, and a bluefish created exclusively for AWSC by marine life artist Paul McPhee, can now be ordered through the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
"This is a significant funding mechanism for our organization," explained. "Twenty-eight dollars of the $40 fee is tax deductible and donated to the Conservancy, and when people renew after two years the full $40 is donated. We've already raised over $20,000 from pre-order plate sales."
AWSC reaches thousands of people through its education and outreach programs, funds the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries' groundbreaking Atlantic white shark scientific studies, and works closely with town, state, and federal officials to improve public safety. Proceeds from the sale of the plates will continue to support research and educational programs, including the Conservancy's new Chatham Shark Center.
Through Dec. 23, the Conservancy is holding the first in a series of online auctions for low plate numbers (1-99). The holiday auction, hosted by Accelevents, will feature 10 famous Boston sports players' numbers, 4, 8, 9, 12, 14, 33, 34, 45, 77, and 87. Winning bids are tax deductible.
"When the Conservancy named a white shark after David Ortiz this summer, the story made national headlines," said Wigren. "Now a Massachusetts resident can have Ortiz's number on his or her license plate and at the same time support the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy's important work."
To participate in the low number plate online auction, visit www.accelevents.com/events/sharkplates.
White shark plates can be ordered at the local registry of motor vehicles office or online at https://secure.rmv.state.ma.us/SpecialPlates/intro.aspx. A $40 special plate fee and complete application are required to order a plate. Plates are only available to Massachusetts residents, and commercial vehicle plates are not available. All orders and inquires must be handled by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles.