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Connecticut News

Mystic Aquarium is part of Biden's ocean plan for climate change

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WSHU
View of Long Island Sound from Esker Point Beach in Groton.

A new plan from the Biden administration puts ocean conservation at the center of its climate change response. Connecticut’s Mystic Aquarium worked with the administration on the plan.

Mystic Aquarium’s scientists have spent decades working on research in Long Island Sound that informed the plan. Katie Cubina, the senior vice president of mission programs at the aquarium, said they’re already seeing the first casualties of climate change in the Sound.

“As the waters warmed, it simply was not a suitable habitat for some of these animals’ survival anymore," Cubina said. "We're seeing a shift in stocks of fish and fisheries. And certainly, you talk to any commercial or recreational fisherman and they'll tell you the same.”

The Biden administration’s plan includes long-established goals — like more responsible offshore wind and less drilling. The administration also wants to create more marine protected areas — like the one the aquarium helped establish that covers a wide swath of southeast Connecticut.

“This is the first one in Connecticut," Cubina said. "And it really recognizes the fact that Long Island Sound is an estuary of national significance, that it's a working estuary, that it's in a state of restoration.”

Cubina said ocean conservation is an important part of the administration’s climate goals.

“Identify the parts of the ocean that have the greatest capacity to serve as a carbon sink, and see what we can do to protect those areas," Cubina said. "Because if they're really good at taking carbon out of the atmosphere, then they're going to serve multiple purposes. But mitigating climate change is definitely one of them.”

The Biden administration has endorsed a plan to put protections in place for 30% of the ocean by 2030.