The University of New England established the Marine Animal Rehabilitation and Conservation (MARC) program in 2001 to assist in the effort to rescue, rehabilitate and release marine mammals—specifically, gray and harbor seals, which are native to North Atlantic waters but were threatened with dwindling numbers.
Thanks to a dedicated staff, students, and community volunteers an estimated 1,100 injured and stranded seals were rehabilitated at MARC and released into the wild.
With resources from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the involvement of MARC and other partners along the Eastern seaboard, the seal colonies have significantly rebounded to the point where the federal government has shifted its priorities.
During its 13 years of operation, MARC achieved great success in its mission and has also affected the lives of hundreds of students and community volunteers.
The University of New England has recently expanded its undergraduate marine science programs to meet growing demand and career opportunities in areas in which UNE is well situated to expand, including aquaculture, animal behavior, fisheries, climate change, policy-making and more.
In Maine alone, the marine economy supports about 40,000 jobs and contributes nearly a billion dollars in economic activity each year. UNE has opportunities to expand its contributions to the Maine and larger marine economy through new partnerships with state and federal agencies, as well as international industries, for faculty research, student internships and jobs.
UNE’s vision for marine programs is to educate the next generation of coastal leaders as informed citizens, stewards, scientists, business leaders, and policy-makers. UNE marine students will acquire science-based knowledge, leadership, entrepreneurship and innovation skills that will provide outstanding value to governmental and non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, coastal businesses, and civil societies worldwide.