Gloucester Data Show Waterfront’s Economic Footprint, Jump-Start Maritime Plans

The Gloucester Harbor Planning Committee, concerned about the economic decline of its seaport over the past three decades, looked for ways to diversify its maritime economy, but the economic data sets they had did not truly reflect today’s maritime workforce.

Starting with the economic data and framework available from NOAA’s Digital Coast, the committee discovered that their county’s living resources sector (primarily commercial fishing) accounted for just 10 percent of the local ocean economy. The state’s local employment data were also analyzed based on the framework. The result was a more detailed profile of the waterfront economy that pinpointed individual ocean-dependent businesses by industry class.

With this information in hand, local officials are able to make a stronger, more specific case for investing in the working waterfront economy. They also see the vital importance of planning for and recruiting new “ocean knowledge” sectors, such as maritime technology. Other working waterfront communities can use NOAA’s Economics: National Ocean Watch data in similar ways to help them maintain economic resilience. (2016)

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Partners: City of Gloucester, Office for Coastal Management