Located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, between Cape Ann and Cape Cod, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is truly a wild ocean place near an urban world. The area was well-known as an important fishing ground centuries ago, and nearby Gloucester, founded in 1623, became America’s first fishing port. Early shore whaling enterprises targeting local species evolved into ocean-going whaling fleets, which have now been replaced by whale watching excursions. Rich supplies of plankton draw the fish and, subsequently, whales, while supporting a complex ecosystem filled with a diverse array of invertebrates. Stellwagen Bank was named a national marine sanctuary in 1992 through an Act of Congress after an active public campaign to protect this special place. The 100+ species selected for inclusion in the Encyclopedia project represent species that are both economically and ecologically important. We hope you find this to be a valuable resource and visit often.