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The Foundations of a Blue Economy

The Foundations of a Blue Economy

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Michael Conathan and Kiley Kroh explain why promoting industries that recognize and augment the clean and health ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems is crucial to our financial, biological, cultural, and spiritual well-being.
Michael Conathan and Kiley Kroh explain why promoting industries that recognize and augment the clean and health ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes ecosystems is crucial to our financial, biological, cultural, and spiritual well-being.

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Published by: Center for American Progress on Jun 25, 2012
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1Center or American Progress |  The Foundations o a Blue Economy
 The Foundations of a Blue Economy
CAP Launches New Project PromotingSustainable Ocean Industries
Michael Conathan and Kiley Kroh June 2012
All o us have in our veins the exact same percentage o salt in our blood that exists in theocean, and, thereore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied tothe ocean. And when we go back to the sea… we are going back fom whence we came.” 
— John F. Kennedy, Newport, Rhode Island, September 19621
Te ocean is inegral o our sociey. According o daa rom he 2010 census,morehan hal o all Americansnow live in coasal waershed counies, which comprise lesshan 20 percen o U.S. land (excluding Alaska) and have an average populaion densiy more han ve imes higher han inland regions.
Anyone who has ever seen he words“waerron propery” on a real esae adverisemen knows ha demand or such localesar ousrips supply.Groups such as heCener or he Blue Economy  , which now encompasses heNaional Ocean Economics Program , are increasingly sriving o develop models o evaluae heoverall scal benes o our oceans, pulling ogeher some hereoore unknown mericso he overall eec coasal counies and saes have on America’s economic healh. odae, heir opline ndings have been signican: In 2010 shore-adjacen counies, hoseouched or encompassed by a saes dened coasal zone, conribued more han $6 ril-lion o our gross domesic produc and accouned or 44 million jobs.
2Center or American Progress |  The Foundations o a Blue Economy
Figure 1
Benefits of the ocean economy
Contributions o ocean economy establishments by region, 2009
RegionEstablishmentsEmploymentWagesGDPGreat Lakes15,061246,851$6.5 billion$13.6 billionGuloMexico19,673360,924$11.9 billion$24.7 billionMid-Atlantic40,185641,910$20.1 billion$40 billionNorth Pacifc (Alaska)1,71825,158$0.8 billion$2.8 billionNortheast15,786195,782$6.1 billion$11.2 billionPacifc (Hawaii)3,86092,023$2.6 billion$5.2 billionSoutheast17,217302,290$7.4 billion$17.7 billionWest26,888533,052$18.4 billion$37.9 billion
Total140,3882,397,990$73.8 billion$153.1 billion
Note: Includes living marine resources, marine construction, marine transportation, ship and boat building, and tourism and recreationSource: Data courtesy o National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Despie hese eors, ner-scale economic daa abou our oceans and coass remain elu-sive. We can quaniy employmen, salaries, and expendiures in some cases—oshoreenergy workers, shermen, and lieguards a public beaches, or example. Bu ohers aremore dicul o nail down. How do we classiy a desk clerk a a hoel 10 miles rom heshore? Te owner o a convenience sore ha sells sunscreen and beach chairs alongsideeggs and milk? How much a bird wacher spends o kayak hrough a marsh? And how can we pu a price on he resources hemselves? Welands ler polluion, pro-ec upland propery rom sorm surges, and serve as nurseries or sh and oher marinespecies. So how much is an acre o marshland really worh?Tis brie launches he Blue Economy projec a he Cener or American Progress,laying ou he groundwork or wha will be an ongoing eor o promoe indusries harecognize and augmen he clean and healhy ocean, coasal, and Grea Lakes ecosys-ems ha drive our nancial, biological, culural, and spiriual well-being.In his brie we make he case or supporing, susaining, and growing our undamenalcomponens o he Blue Economy:
Susainable commercial and recreaional sheries
ourism, recreaion, and uses o ocean and coasal space ha do no resul in direcuse or consumpion o resources
Coasal resoraion, proecion, and adapaion
Oshore renewable energy developmen
3Center or American Progress |  The Foundations o a Blue Economy
Tese componens are cerainly no he only drivers o he ocean economy, nor are hey necessarily he larges conribuors or he ones or which we have he bes supporingdaa. Bu hey consiue wha we consider he oundaion or healhy and produciveoceans, coass, and Grea Lakes.Tis iniial lis has some noable omissions. Tis repor, or example, will no wresle hegorilla o oshore oil and gas developmen. While his indusry hasmassive and undeni-ableeconomic value, risks o environmenal desrucion ha many consider unaccep-able counerbalance hese conribuions.Te BP Deepwaer Horizon caasrophe has largely aded rom public consciousness morehan wo years aer i occurred. In he inerim, Congress has ailed o ake any acion omake oshore drilling saer or increase he liabiliy or he companies ha hreaen marineresources.
Meanwhile, we seem o be marching incessanly oward even riskier develop-men o oshore resources in heremoe and prisine Arcic Ocean.
 We also will no delve ino mariime ransporaion, anoher o he larges economic acivi-ies in our oceans. Te global shipping indusry carries90 percen o world rade ,
shapesall commerce, and underpins he global economy. Ye because his repor ocuses on henexus o he environmen and economy, we do no have space o address shipping. Ships,aer all, don’ care wheher he waer ha foas hem is diry or clean, hough he indusry can be “greened” a relaively low cos and wih grea bene o coasal ecosysems.Insead, we ocus on indusries ha depend upon and can coexis wih and benerom healhy oceans ye sill lack ull deniion o heir remendous poenial economic benes—eiher because o diculy quaniying hem or because he indusries areemerging or in fux, hus requiring addiional resources and atenion beore we canruly evaluae heir benes.Tese indusries have he added bene o ueling our passion, eeding our souls, andproecing he resources ha make our oceans and coass so undamenal o he humanexperience. Is i possible o pu a price ag on ha? Perhaps no. Bu our goal is o beterundersand he rue value o America’s Blue Economy.Te summaries below provide a blueprin or uure CAP work dening he conribu-ions hese susainable ocean secors make o our economic well-being.
Sustainable commercial and recreational fisheries
Fishing is perhaps he rs vocaion ha comes o mind when considering ocean andcoasal economic aciviy. Fish brough he earlies European setlers o he Americas— beore gold or rade roues or colonizaion became he arges o uure exploraion.

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