President’s Blog: February 17, 2017
President's Blog

President’s Blog: February 17, 2017

February 17, 2016 Dear Friend: Around this time of year…

February 17, 2016

Dear Friend:

Around this time of year I feel a bit like the operator of a pizza shop with the sign in the window, “You’ve tried the rest, now try the best.”

The Day newspaper has just announced that Mystic Aquarium has been nominated for 2017 Best Area Attraction.  We are very proud of this nomination and also very proud to announce that our own catering company, Ocean Blue Catering, has been nominated for 2017 Best Caterer.


Now that we have the nomination we need to win the election!  Every vote counts.  Please join me in voting for Mystic Aquarium and Ocean Blue Catering at the link below.  Mystic Aquarium can be found in the “Arts & Entertainment” category under “Area attraction (non-sporting event)”.  Ocean Blue Catering can be found in the “Food & Dining” category under “Caterer”.

Voting is open now through March 12, 2017. Vote early, vote often and tell your friends.


Mystic Aquarium has been very active in efforts to establish, protect and provide public programming around marine protected areas.  Last year, under the leadership of Senior Vice President for Mission Programs, Katie Cubina, and through the research and leadership of Senior Scientist Dr. Peter Auster we played a key role in the President’s designation of the New England Canyons and Seamounts as a Marine National Monument.

Many U.S. Presidents of all political persuasions have exercised executive authority through the Antiquities Act of 1906.  The following Op Ed was published in the New Haven Register this week in which I try to explain why it is important to preserve the President’s authority to declare national monuments under this Act.

Please click below to take a read:


I am honored to be at the State Capital in Hartford today testifying on behalf of funding for Mystic Aquarium and for investment in marketing the State of Connecticut.


Here is a summary of what I said to the Legislature:

“…we are here tonight to request that specified funding for each of our institutions remain as line items in the budget.  We also urge more robust funding for the state tourism budget at a level of at least $15 million for the specific purpose of increasing tourism from the critical New York media market. 

Our rationale can be summarized as follows:

  • Aquariums are well established as key economic drivers in Connecticut and nationally
  • The two aquariums are essential public assets that return significant investment to the local and state economy
  • Tourism is a $14 billion industry in Connecticut employing over 120,000 people in the state
  • Over the past five years Connecticut has realized significant growth in hotel occupancy taxes, generating $500 million from this tax alone
  • Growth in attendance at the two aquariums correlates to increased hotel occupancy and related tax revenue
  • Spending on state marketing, including dedicated funding for the two aquariums correlates to growth in visits to the state, hotel occupancy, and economic growth at the local level
  • The state marketing effort including substantial advertising in the New York media market has resulted in demonstrable growth in visitors from New York to Connecticut
  • The New York media market is prohibitively expensive for any one attraction and therefore investment in this market by the State is a solid public investment that cannot be replicated by the private or non-profit sector


Jointly, these institutions play a unique role in the state and serve as engines of the Connecticut tourism economy.  In addition, they are the primary providers of essential science education to almost every school district in the state, and serve as the state’s primary sentinels in protecting our most precious natural and economic resource, Long Island Sound, and the animals that are essential to its vitality.”


Perhaps I could have spared everybody the listen, and instead shared this wonderful note from a youngster who visited the Aquarium recently.  When I received this it brought a smile to my face and I hope it does to you as well.

Mystic Aquarium Note

See you all soon!


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