Digital Coast Aids Waterfront Economic Strategy

The Takeaway: Using NOAA Digital Coast’s economic data and process, this community made a strong case for investing in tomorrow’s waterfront economy.

Massachusetts’ City of Gloucester developed a working-waterfront strategy for economic resilience and growth by using NOAA Digital Coast’s data and resources available through Economics: National Ocean Watch.

This project was born when the Gloucester Harbor Planning Committee, concerned about the economic decline and diversity of its seaport over the past three decades, realized that 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. (2016)

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Partners: City of Gloucester