MARCO Commissions a Blue Economy Assessment
Given shifting national and regional priorities toward post-Covid 19 sustainable economic recovery, heightened efforts to address climate change, and a focus on understanding ocean planning’s role in building a more inclusive society, MARCO is increasing its focus on actions that strengthen the Mid-Atlantic region’s blue economy. Toward this end, MARCO seeks to (1) encourage greater public and private understanding of and investment in blue economy activities in the region, (2) stimulate improvements to policy making at all levels of government that allow the region to better tap the economic and environmental benefits of a sustainable blue economy approach, and (3) engage new interests whose voices have been underrepresented in ocean and coastal decision making.
As a first step in this initiative, MARCO has partnered with the Middlebury Institute and Dr. Charles Colgan to develop a Mid-Atlantic Blue Economy Assessment, which will update the marine economy definition in the region and examine several other sectors relevant to the region’s blue economy.
NOAA ENOW data (Economics: National Ocean Watch data) on the state ocean economy has been available for some time, but the measurement of the U.S. ocean economy has advanced with the publication by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) of the Maritime Economy Satellite Account in June 2020. The Mid-Atlantic Blue Economy Assessment will begin the process of updating the economic data available to the states so it reflects broader and more refined measures at the national level.
The sectors included in the report will be marine research and education; state government; and expanded measurement of marine construction. MARCO and Middlebury Institute are also working to increase the precision of the ocean components of the tourism & recreation sector, and adding an estimate of the role of blue carbon in the Mid-Atlantic ocean economy.
The outcome of this initiative is expected to be a report containing data for each state, which will be placed on the Middlebury Institute’s website along with other economic data that MARCO and the states can link to as needed for future products.