Market Values

The ocean and coastal economies contribute 83.7% of the total U.S. GDP

Non-Market Values

Many ocean and coastal ecosystem services values still don't show up in our policies and decisions. The Center for the Blue Economy aims to change that.

Impacts of Climate Change

With economic activity and population becoming ever more concentrated in coastal zones, how humanity adapts to climate change is the trillion dollar question.

Center for the Blue Economy Research and Leadership Initiatives

Nations around the world rely on ocean systems to produce food, energy, and pharmaceuticals, and large sectors of the global economy depend on the oceans to transport goods. The Center for the Blue Economy provides free, open-access data and analysis on ocean-related economic activities and resource trends to assist with policy, management, and investment decisions for ocean and coastal economies for a wide spectrum of actors.  Below are our current research and leadership initiatives and the main research products we produce.  

The National Ocean Economics Program

The National Ocean Economics Program provides a full range of the most current and accurate time series economic data on trends along the U.S. coast, Great Lakes, and coastal waters.  It also offers users a public source of information for ocean natural resource production and values, ports, cargo and shipping, federal ocean expenditures, and most recently, data on the emerging Arctic economy, mariculture, and offshore renewable energy.  The National Ocean Economics Program provides much of the data that informs the Center’s research and has attracted thousands of users from all sectors of the economy, and nations around the world. 

Climate Change and Coastal Marketplaces

The Center for the Blue Economy uses the tools and data of economics from the local to the international level to help coastal communities efficiently and equitably adapt to climate change impacts. With literally trillions of dollars of infrastructure, businesses, real estate, and ecosystems at risk in coastal regions, figuring out the best ways to mitigate threats and adapt can save large sums of money. In some instances, how communities adapt to climate change will mean the difference between fiscal solvency and bankruptcy. While tremendous advances have been made on the natural science and engineering side, there is a paucity of economic data. The Center’s research fills this gap, with an emphasis on market-based solutions that can produce lasting results as part of a new “Coastal Marketplace.”

Valuing the Global Oceans

More than 20 nations have created ocean economy accounts, mostly in Europe, Asia, and North America. The Center for the Blue Economy, in partnership with the U.S., China, Korea, France, Canada, and other nations, is building an alliance of coastal states (and encouraging more participation from Africa, Latin America, and the small islands states of the Pacific) to clearly define the parameters and methodologies for measuring the ocean and coastal economies. The goal is to build international consensus and create a uniform and standardized set of measurements for the ocean and coastal economies around the world. The hope is to one day estimate a Global Ocean Product that demonstrates the value and importance of the oceans to the entire world economy. Achieving international consensus not only on measuring the value of the oceans, but also on the meaning of the emerging “Blue Economy” and how it relates to the traditional ocean economy, is the ultimate goal of this effort.

Analyzing "Hot Spots" in the Arctic

As the Arctic environment undergoes dramatic changes, the National Ocean Economics Program is compiling, analyzing, and delivering data for the public on the broad range of Arctic economic activities as this uncertain economy emerges. The purpose of tracking these changes is two-fold:  1) to provide accurate data on the status of the industry sectors currently operating in the Arctic, as well as those that emerge over time, to determine how those activities affect local populations and local economies, and 2) to track the scale, scope, and geography of those activities to show the degree of risk and threat they may pose to the already shifting and fragile Arctic environment.

Partnering to Solve Ocean and Coastal Challenges

The Center for the Blue Economy partners with several organizations to achieve its objectives, including NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, The Nature Conservancy, Maersk, Environmental Defense Fund, Shanghai Ocean University, The Korean Maritime Institute, The Urban Institute at Monmouth College, OneReef, Southern Environmental Law Institute, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA), The Chinese Marine Data Information Service, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Daniel Pauly and The Sea Around Us, The Loker Foundation, The Ocean Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and many others. 

Systematizing "Non-market values" data

Goods and services that are not exchanged in normal market transactions, but which have economic value nonetheless are considered to have “non-market value.” These include ecosystem services such as the value of a wetland or mangrove in providing protection from storm surges, or individuals’ value from using a surf break or spending a day at the beach. Unlike much of the economic data that the Center for the Blue Economy's National Ocean Economics Program manages, which is based on standardized public data sets, the large amount of information on the non-market values of ocean and coastal resources is only available in individual studies published in multiple types of outlets using a variety of methodologies. The Center for the Blue Economy plans to develop a new approach bringing order and consistency to what is mostly an ad hoc body of literature.

The Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics

The Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics launched in April of 2015. With a distinguished editorial board and its open review process, the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics further solidifies the Center for the Blue Economy's position as the leader in the ocean and coastal economics field, and helps to foster an international community of researchers and practitioners. Until the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, those wishing to share research in this field outside of fisheries have used outlets that specialized in economics, but not specific to oceans and coasts. Upholding the Center's commitment to open access, the Journal is freely available to all: there are no fees to authors or readers. Contracting with the Middlebury Institute’s world-class translators, the Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics provides abstracts of all papers in Chinese, French, Korean, Japanese, Portuguese, and Spanish.