N.Y. Aquarium Suffers Heavy Casualties

by Alexander Mildener, staff reporter

In the aftermath of Sandy, several facilities were damaged or destroyed, one of them being the NY Aquarium in Coney Island.

The aquarium was badly damaged and will most likely not open for another several months, or perhaps for over a year. Powerful hurricane winds destroyed oxygen suppliers to the fish tanks. Ocean water mixed with tank water, and the chemical reactions between the two substances resulted in the death of several fish species. Several hundred fish were reported dead by aquarium officials.

“Most aquatic life is extremely sensitive to changes in salinity and temperature. A hurricane surge would have affected both, particularly salinity. Saltwater fish can be affected if the salinity is raised or lowered and ocean salinity is different from the tanks of specific species. Most freshwater fish are sensitive to any salinity so the salt water kills them outright,” chemistry teacher Dr. Baribault said.

In fact, according to Brooklyn NY1, every single koi fish died. The hurricane decimated the exhibit and swept the fish away. Other exhibits were also damaged due to loss of power or flooding. The aquarium was completely flooded and was three feet deep in certain areas of the aquarium. Workers pumped and filtered out the water in the buildings.

According to Brooklyn NY1, the aquarium’s new project, Ocean Wonders: Sharks has been postponed indefinitely. Officials are trying their best to fix all the issues at the aquarium and are making good progress. However, according to aquarium official Melissa Carp, “its going to be a very long recovery.”

On the other hand, not all animals were affected by the hurricane. The walruses, especially the pup seemed to enjoy themselves during the storm. Walruses are found throughout the Arctic and are used to severe weather. The other marine mammals throughout the aquarium did significantly better than most of the fish species because they are not as sensitive to changes in temperature and ph.

All of Coney Island was heavily damaged. The boardwalk was demolished due to massive waves triggered by powerful hurricane winds. Several stores throughout the town were also damaged. The community of Coney Island is struggling to get by.

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