The Aquarium inspires conservation through education, research, and sustainable practice. Our conservation projects reflect the diversity of our animal collection and contribute to the protection of wild animals and their habitats around the world.

At the Aquarium

With the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and other local environmental agencies, the Aquarium works to conserve our local and global coastal habitats. Our dedicated staff members reach out to provide training and assistance for local and global research and conservation initiatives. You can also help us make a difference by recognizing and reporting frog calls for FrogWatch USA or building a Trash Talking Turtle.

Stranding Response Program

The Aquarium's award-winning Stranding Response Team, led by a trained group of staff and volunteers, respond to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles on Virginia's coast and beyond. In addition to rescuing and rehabilitating sick or injured animals, the team also collects data on dead animals to learn more about the problems marine life faces and how to help solve those problems.

If you see a stranded animal, alive or dead, report it to the Stranding Response Team immediately by calling  (757) 385-7575 or visit Report a Stranding for more information.

Sensible Seafood Program

The Sensible Seafood Program promotes seafood choices that make sense for a healthy marine environment. With many fish species fast disappearing from the world's oceans, the Sensible Seafood Program empowers consumers to choose sustainable seafood whether at the market counter or in a restaurant with our Pocket Guide. With resources and events like the Annual Sensible Seafood Fest, the Sensible Seafood Program proves that it's easy (and fun) to keep our bodies and our oceans healthy.

Saving Animals from Extinction

229-accredited members of the AZA are coming together in a variety of ways to help the public consider what it would be like to not be able to see, learn from or connect with these incredible animals again. This is to raise awareness of the efforts to save animals from extinction and to help launch AZA SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE).

For decades, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums have been leaders in species survival, and are already working to restore more than 30 species to healthy wild populations, including the American bison, the California condor and a variety of aquatic species.

Through SAFE, AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums will convene scientists and stakeholders globally to identify the factors threatening species, develop Conservation Action Plans, collect new resources and engage the public.

In 2015, SAFE will focus on 10 species and then add an additional 10 species each year for the next 10 years. The inaugural 10 species include: African penguin, Asian elephants, Black rhinoceros, cheetah, gorilla, sea turtles, vaquita, sharks and rays, Western pond turtle and Whooping Crane.