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Summer events to celebrate
Year of the Ocean
May 11, 1998

The year 1998 has been declared "Year of the Ocean" by the United Nations to create awareness of the need to conserve ocean life and encourage sustainable use of ocean resources. Connecticut Sea Grant at UConn-Avery Point, will join the nation in its celebration of the Year of the Ocean through a promotion called Connecticut Ocean 98.

"The idea is to showcase Connecticut's marine and coastal treasures - in academia, business, education, arts, military, tourism and marine sciences," says Peg Van Patten, communications director of Connecticut Sea Grant. "We are celebrating the oceans and everyone is invited."

The ocean affects the world's weather and climate, and provides a home to fisheries, a major food source, she says. The impact of the ocean on all nations was particularly noticeable in 1997, because of El Nino, a disruption of the ocean-atmospheric system in the tropical Pacific that has caused floods and droughts around the globe, and because of Pfiesteria, a new toxic plankton that poisoned and killed fish in many U.S. coastal areas.

The United States has more than 95,000 miles of coastline, more than 3.4 million square miles of ocean within its exclusive economic zone, and more than half its population lives within 50 miles of the coastline. One in six jobs in the United States is marine-related and one-third of the gross domestic product is produced in coastal areas through marine-related industries.

Connecticut Ocean 98 will begin June 20, with a reception at the Avery Point campus featuring U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Teeson as speaker and a preview performance of the campus's Jazz by the Sea concert. Other activities will include displays and exhibits of posters featuring marine-related business and activities in Connecticut; an ocean essay and photo contest for school children; and a concert by the Coast Guard Band at the Coast Guard Academy in New London on October 20.

The events are cosponsored by UConn at Avery Point; Marinpro, a local advertising business in Mystic; Mystic Marinelife Aquarium; Mystic Seaport; the U.S. Coast Guard; and the TRV Media Group, Gales Ferry.

Usha Palaniswamy