“Laws Not Jaws”

Why our oceans need sharks

Join us at the Montauk Lighthouse with collaboration with the Montauk Historical Society for this year’s exhibit, “LAWS NOT JAWS “ . We explore the shocking effects of the inhumane and decimating illegal practice of shark finning. Shark finning kills an estimated million or more sharks and rays each year, primarily through illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing. The shark fins are dried and then used to make shark fin soup, which is mostly consumed in China, Vietnam, Thailand and other parts of Asia.

It has decimated the numbers of sharks in our oceans to a degree, where the species cannot recover anymore. Their position as the oceans “top predators” is being threatened by this decimation and the balance of the ecosystem of our world oceans has been affected on multiple levels.

A major portion of the exhibits features the life of the Montauk fisherman FRANK MUNDUS, who inspired Peter Benchley for his character Quinn in his book Jaws, which in 1975 was turned into a major motion picture by Steven Spielberg.

Mundus and his crew mate Donnie Braddick, caught a 3427 lb. Great White Shark 28 miles off Montauk with rod and reel and Mundus became a celebrity over night.

However, later in life the shark hunter became a shark protector and conservationists, lobbying for the use of the circle hook and catch-release shark tournaments.

A documentary of the filmmaker Tom Garber of Third Wave Films explains the change of traditional shark fishing and shark tournaments from then to now and will be shown on a daily basis at the institute.

Our thanks to and for their continuous fight to protect the sharks, that we need so much in and for our oceans and to educate us about much needed shark preservation efforts all over the world.

Trip Patterson, Miles Partington, John, Chimples, Dave Weolodoski, and Jason Walter were all vital in the conception of last and this year’s exhibit.

Further Resources:

"save the right whale"






The last two year’s exhibits of the Montauk Oceans Institute, focus on plastic pollution in our oceans and overfishing in the North Atlantic region. We feature sustainable fishing practices and organizations are using the power of conversation to provide solutions to the imbalanced harvesting of our oceans.
A combination of these issues and new findings that the population of the North Atlantic Right Whale led us to our 2018 Exhibit, SAVE THE RIGHT WHALE.  The species currently has 450 remaining whales worldwide with no births reported in the last 18 months (the gestation of a whale is 18 months).  We have also taken this opportunity to showcase the troubling issue of shark finning and the hopeful ban of sales of shark fins in the US.

This year’s exhibit is a collaborative effort featuring work from artist Miles Partington, The Tripoli Gallery and Oceana, all of which, visually enhanced a variety of related topics. The artist is resident, Partington, painted the remaining 450 Right Whales and calves on the floor to visualize their dwindling number.  He also created a replica of a North Atlantic Right Whale that greets our visitors from above.  Oceana, is a worldwide organization helping to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.  Launching The Ocean Law Project in 2002 has led to the protection of over 3.5 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea life.  – but there is still more to be done. We’re here to provide a platform for these important stories. 

There is an interactive children’s corner encourages kids to play and read about our oceans and it’s creatures.
The show also exhibits historic whaling artifacts and information explain how the RIGHT WHALE was hunted and systematically reduced from millions to a mere 450 today.

Further Readings: 

Marine Encyclopedia- North Atlantic Right Whale

Ask a scientist: Could oil exploration wipe out the last North Atlantic right whales?

Ask a scientist: Could oil exploration wipe out the last North Atlantic right whales?


"Know Your F.I.S.H.erman"

The 2017 MOI exhibit will be focusing on the concept of getting to Know Your Fisherman.  The show will have a expert mix of science and art about local seafood sources with facts and figures provided by F.I.S.H., as well as a Commercial Fisherman Photo show by Grant Monahan and a fish species art display curated by Scott Bluedorn .  We're also thrilled to be highlighting the work of Dock to Dish.  At Dock to Dish Montauk they have pioneered unique community-based seafood sourcing programs which provide forward-thinking chefs and members of our cooperatives with direct dock access to incredibly fresh, wild, sustainable seafood that is accurately curated and fully traceable to the source of origin and fisher who harvested the haul. 

Additionally, we're teamed up with Cornell Cooperative Extension whom recently received a grant from the New York Farm Viability Institute to launch a new marketing and education campaign focused on promoting Long Island seafood as local “F.I.S.H." -Fresh. Indigenous. Sustainable. Healthy.  The program aims to increase interest, awareness and demand for locally harvested, wild-caught and grown seafood while creating alternative markets and distribution points for Long Island seafood through Community Supported Fishery (CSF) programs.

We hope that our visitors walk away from the exhibit with a better understanding behind the legacy of the Montauk Commercial Fishing Industry and a great respect for the various fish species that call Long Island waters their home. 

"PLastic ocean" 

The 2016 Oceans Institute exhibit focuses on plastics pollution in our oceans. The visual storytelling and physical show has been skillfully curated local artist by Scott Bluedorn.  Other contributing artists are Cindy Pease Roe, Billy Strong, Peter Spacek and Rossa Cole.  Our season's roster of artists have the common thread of creating their work with recycled and locally found plastic material.  These artists, along with the collection of marine biologists, sustainable fashion designers, ocean lovers and adventurers, "Plastic Ocean" aims to educate, excite and inspire visitors to imagine an existence with less waste.  

Our Mission


The mission of the Montauk Oceans Institute is to build community, educate, and heighten awareness surrounding our local ocean’s health through an interactive museum space and outdoor oceanfront amphitheater in Montauk, Long Island.

The MOI seeks to execute installations, interactive exhibitions, and programs that highlight and explore the wonders and environmental complexities of the ocean. We serve as a platform that enables the organizations, foundations, policymakers, and philanthropic voices of our community to pool their findings and ideas in solving today’s oceanographic issues.


Summer Calendar: 2019 

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Montauk, NY 11954



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