The Thames River in southeastern Connecticut brings numerous companies together in a unique “Blue Economy.”
- Some commercial fishermen begin to adopt electronic reporting early before it becomes mandatory this fall
- NOAA Fisheries says shift will allow for better management of fish stocks in the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions
- NOAA phase-out of paper logbooks taking place alongside long-term plan to eliminate traditional paper charts
Peter Legnos, President & CEO
The World Bank defines the Blue Economy as the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.” The Thames River in southeastern Connecticut has a thriving Blue Economy, with industries ranging from submarine production and offshore wind energy to aquaculture and oceanographic research.
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Southeastern Connecticut’s Blue Economy includes:
General Dynamics Electric Boat is a major employer in the region, designing and building nuclear submarines for the U.S. Navy. EB constructs Virginia class attack submarines and is the prime contractor for the new Columbia class of ballistic submarines.
State Pier in New London is currently in the early stages of being transformed into an offshore wind energy hub. With the Danish wind energy company Orsted and state utility Eversource as partners, the pier will be a staging area for the pre-assembly of wind turbine generators and the transportation of turbine components to offshore wind farms.
Marine construction companies such as Mohawk Northeast complete water-based building projects such as cofferdams, breakwaters, and dredging. The region also supports shipyards for marine maintenance and repair.
Connecticut is a leading producer of oysters and clams, and aquaculture is a growing sector of the economy in the southeastern part of the state. In addition to traditional shellfish farms, species such as kelp and bay scallops are being studied for commercial viability.
Although the region’s commercial fishing industry has declined in recent years, it continues to play an important part of the local economy. Boats bring in fish, lobsters, scallops, and other seafood, destined for both the market and local clam shacks.
In addition to research conducted at Electric Boat and Naval Submarine Base New London, numerous small businesses are involved in researching and manufacturing components for submarines and other Navy vessels. Other research firms on the Thames River include the Connecticut Sea Grant, National Institute for Undersea Vehicle Technology, and Coast Guard Research and Development Center. The region is also home to surveying companies that scrutinize what’s beneath the waves, offering services ranging from archaeological research to structure inspection.
New London is a terminus for three ferry lines and also has a deep water port that can support shipping operations and cruise ships. The coast also supports a number of recreational boating operations, from fishing charters to marinas, along with state parks that preserve the region’s history and natural beauty.
The southeastern Connecticut region boasts a rich history, and visitors can see numerous museums and cultural attractions along the coast. These include two Revolutionary War-era forts, Mystic Seaport Museum, Mystic Aquarium, and the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus.
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