BIMI: Bringing marine life to shore

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 4:45pm

This past August, the members of the Block Island Maritime Institute installed a 1,000 gallon aquarium with a huge window that allows visitors to see the marine life that is usually hidden beneath the surf.

The tank is stocked with scup, mature bluefish, black sea bass, fluke, a striper, adult toadfish and a trigger fish, as well as some smaller species. These fish are usually found just outside the cut of the Great Salt Pond.

BIMI is now reaching out to the public to help fund a fourth tank at its New Harbor site (there are also two touch tanks there), and, with a promise of a 50-50 matching grant, is looking to raise about $25,000 to meet the estimated $55,000 cost of the new tank.

According to the fundraising letter issued by BIMI, the organization “has enjoyed a revival, restoring our century-old facilities, our docks and grounds, and building a maritime education program for island, seasonal, and off-island children and adults. BIMI is focused on the waters around our island and the rich marine life that thrives in the salt water ponds, bays and ocean. The tanks are the key to our educational programs.”

With the addition of the third tank this past summer, the BIMI letter stated, that “On a typical summer day, upwards of 150 kids and adults visit the tanks and are amazed by the life in the waters around Block Island. After two to three weeks on display, all of the fish in the tanks are returned to their natural environment.”

The new tank will be larger at 2,500 gallons and will be designed to “better display the marine life outside the cut.”

“All of these efforts have been funded by gifts, earnings from the buildings, and grants from organizations like the Champlin Foundation, the Rhode Island Foundation, Roosa Fund and individuals...” the letter states.

BIMI is a not-for-profit, 501(c)3 tax exempt corporation. Gifts can be made directly to BIMI, Susie Weissman, Treasurer, Box 358, Block Island, R.I. 02807 or through its website at blockislandmaritimeinstitute,org. Questions may be sent to Valerie Preler at (401) 500-3501.