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Massachusetts Right Whale & Roseate Terns Conservation License Plate

Saving whales one plate at a time.

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How can I help?

Massachusetts environmental trust logo

Everyone loves catching a glimpse of a whale on one of Massachusetts’ famed whale watches. Of all the whales that visit Massachusetts, the North Atlantic Right Whale is the most endangered. It’s hard to believe the dangers these spectacular animals face from ocean vessels and fishing gear. With only about less than 500 individual right whales left, the loss of even one can push the species closer to extinction. Your Whale Tail license plate can make a real difference. Did you know that the Whale Tail plate really helps whales? Proceeds support whale research, fund the teams that disentangle whales, improve water quality, restore aquatic habitat, and provide environmental education.

How much does a plate cost?

Initial Cost

RMV registration fee:  $60
The special plate fee is: $40 (tax-deductible contribution)
Total first time fee: $100
Renewal fee every 2 years $100
Plate swap fee: $20

How often are the special plates renewed?

  • The special plates are renewed once every two years.

Where does my money go?

  • For $20 a year you are providing grants for protecting endangered species, for the research teams that disentangle whales and sea turtles, for research on marine and freshwater animals and fish, for the development of safer technologies of fishing gear, and so much more.  All of the Trust’s revenue comes from the license plate program with the “whale plate” generating a large percentage of our total annual income.

Is the special plate fee tax-deductible?

  • Yes, $28 is tax-deductible with your first-time order ($12 goes to the RMV for production costs) and the entire $40 specialty plate fee is a tax-deductible donation upon every renewal.

Does the cost of the specialty plate include my vehicle registration fees?

  • No, your registration fees are not included during the new plate development process. You must renew your current vehicle registration bi-annually at a fee of $100.00.  Of this fee $40.00 goes to MET and $60 is the RMV’s registration renewal fee.

Is the $40 a one time payment?

  • No. The $40 is paid every two years coinciding with your registration renewal along with the standard renewal fee of $60. So, the total is $100 every two years.


How do I Purchase a Plate?

  1. Visit MyRMV to order your specialty plate online through the MASS RMV - There are no shipping fees when ordering online
  3. Fill out the required form on the RMV site
  4. Select the vehicle you want the plate for and press next
  5. From the Vehicle Registration Plate Order page scroll down to the next button
  6. Choose Charitable Plate from dropdown menu
  7. Choose Blackstone Valley, Fish & Wildlife or Right Whale plate from the dropdown menu
  8. Go through the motions and pay. Your new plates, registration, and decal will be mailed to you within 10 business days

You can also visit any Mass full service RMV.  Before you go contact your car insurance provider and ask them to send you a signed RMV-3 Form for a plate swap.  As long as your registration is in good standing, you will leave with new with plates in hand!

Having trouble? Contact us and we can walk you through it:  617-626-1045 or env.trust@mass.gov.

Learn more about where your donation is going.

The North Atlantic Right Whale

The North Atlantic right whale image - picture of a boat and whale

The sight of a whale from a boat or from the shore is one of the most exciting spectacles of nature. The waters of Massachusetts are home to numerous species of whales but none capture the imagination quite like the Humpback Whale and the North Atlantic Right Whale.

Danger of extinction

Danger of extinction image picture of a man on a boat looking at a whale

With only about less than 500 individuals left, right whales find refuge in Massachusetts to feed on the vast resources here from December through April each year. These slow moving animals swim near the surface where they can be hit by vessels or entangled in fishing gear. For a population so small, the loss of even one whale can push to species closer to extinction.

Ecosystem Restoration

Ecosystem Restoration image - picture of a whale tail

In addition to helping whales, the MET funds water projects in areas such as ecosystem restoration, water quality improvement, and environmental education. If you are interested in seeing where the money goes, a list of the most recent projects can be found here.

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