"Peppercorn," an Atlantic green sea turtle rescued in Southampton in November by Riverhead Foundation staff. Courtesy photo.

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research & Preservation today announced a name change and a new focus.

The nonprofit organization, headquartered at the L.I. Aquarium in downtown Riverhead, has changed its name to the New York Marine Rescue Center, the group announced today.

Going forward, the organization will focus its efforts on rescuing and rehabilitating sea turtles. The seal population in the northeast Atlantic has seen a dramatic increase in recent years, the group said. But the sea turtles they rescue are listed as threatened or endangered species due to entanglement, coastal development, plastic and other marine debris, global warming, ocean pollution, human consumption and illegal trade, the rescue center said in a press release.

As a result of the increasing demands these population dynamics have placed on the organization, as well as in response to ongoing challenges with increasing operating expenses and limited financial resources, the rescue center will redirect its efforts with an emphasis on conservation of our threatened and endangered sea turtle populations, according to the press release.

“With this new direction, we are rebranding our organization with a new name and logo to better reflect the work we do throughout all of New York State,” the organization said. “We will now be known as the New York Marine Rescue Center (NYMRC). We are also planning to revitalize our rescue center tanks and equipment and to make renovations that will allow greater public viewing of the rescue center activities,” it said.

“We do intend to continue responding to stranded seals as feasible and necessary and provide to emergency care to those in need. All of these changes will allow us to have the strongest, most effective impact on these important marine conservation initiatives.”

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