San Diego Skyline with Moon
San Diego, CA, USA (Credit: John Bahu shared via Pixabay )

Policies and practices affecting sustainable ocean and coastal resource management decisions should be informed by the perspectives and tools of economics and based on reliable, consistent, and comprehensive data. Our research focuses on two areas—the “Blue Economy” as an organizing framework for deriving wealth from the oceans on a sustainable basis and the economics of climate change adaptation in coastal regions. Below are some examples of the impacts of our work. 

Dhaka, capital and largest city with industrial port, Bangladesh
Dhaka, Bangladesh (Credit: Pixabay Public Domain Images )

Impact Internationally

Measuring the Blue Economy Worldwide:  The Center for the Blue Economy leads the effort to measure the economic contributions of oceans and coastlines at the local, regional, state, national, and international levels. LEARN MORE

The Blue Economy and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals: The Center for the Blue Economy’s work aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. LEARN MORE

Ushering in a Blue Economy for Sustainable Growth in Bangladesh:  The Center for the Blue Economy, in collaboration with the World Bank, Duke University, and the European Union, published a study to help Bangladesh understand the size and scope of its blue economy. LEARN MORE

The Blue Economy Handbook of the Indian Ocean Region: Dr. Charles Colgan, Director of Research at the Center for the Blue Economy, authored two chapters in the newly published Blue Economy Handbook of the Indian Ocean Region. LEARN MORE

The Statue of Liberty in New York, U.S.A.
The Statue of Liberty in New York, U.S.A. (Credit: Bruce Emmerling, Pixabay Public Domain Images )

Impact Nationally

The Role of the Ocean in the U.S. Economy: The Center for the Blue Economy’s pioneering work in measuring the ocean in the economy through the National Ocean Economics Program is now moving into new phases. LEARN MORE

The Value of the Digital Ocean: The world’s oceans are increasingly monitored through complex networks of sensors and communications technologies producing large quantities of “operational oceanography” data. LEARN MORE

Ocean City, Maryland boardwalk
Ocean City, Maryland (pictured) is among the coastal communities whose economic livelihood is threatened by climate change, according to new reports from the Middlebury Institute’s Center for the Blue Economy.

Impact at the State Level

California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment: California is a global leader in using, investing in, and advancing research to set proactive climate change policy, and its Climate Change Assessments provide the scientific foundation for understanding climate-related vulnerability. LEARN MORE

Restoring Wetlands: Empowering Economic Understanding in Washington State: The majority of America’s wetlands have been lost to development, conversion, and erosion but major efforts to restore lost wetlands have been under way. LEARN MORE

Final Report on Regional Economic Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise in San Diego: One of the consequences of climate change and sea level rise that has not been extensively examined is potential damage to regional economies. Most studies have focused on possible damages to individual properties, but looking at future flood risks in future dollars at the regional economic level is a new approach. LEARN MORE

Assessing the Mid-Atlantic Coast’s Economic Vulnerability To Climate Change: This report quantifies the potential impacts of threats like sea level rise, rising ocean temperatures and changes in the ocean’s chemistry to communities and businesses in 63 counties and independent cities along the coast from New York to Virginia. LEARN MORE

California’s Fishing Industry & the Use of Seal Bomb Explosive Deterrents:  Seal bombs are being used in California fisheries to deter marine mammals from fish nets and fishing grounds.  But the practice poses significant risk to marine life, regulation is weak, and research guiding current policy is outdated and incomplete.  LEARN MORE

The Blue Economy of Small Island States: This year the CBE helped NOAA measure the Blue Economies of Guam, Northern Mariana, and Samoa—along with doing revisions to the measurement of the Blue Economy in Hawaii

Monterey Beach at Dusk
Del Monte Beach in Monterey, CA at dusk

Impact Locally

10,000 Futures: Modeling Climate Risk in Monterey: The Center for the Blue Economy has developed pilot software modeling 10,000 possible futures over 80 years to help the City of Monterey adapt to sea level rise. LEARN MORE

Moss Landing Highway One project: Highway One is the only North/South highway in that area, and it sits on a nationally significant estuary, the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Reserve. We will provide economic evaluations of alternative approaches to maintain the highway and the estuary.

The Monterey Bay Defense Alliance (MBDA) project:  In this study, the Center for the Blue Economy will examine the economic role of the principal national security facilities in the Monterey County economy. This analysis will provide a multi-year, dynamic perspective on economic impacts including analysis of the role national security related economic activity plays over time, and its role in business cycles.

Upcoming Research

Smart Cities and Cutting Down on Gassy Cows: The CBE is finalizing agreements for several new projects: One, in collaboration with High North Centre for Business and Governance at the Nord University Business School and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will examine “the Blue Economy and Smart Communities in the Arctic.” The study will investigate new marine and maritime industries, and how the blue economy relates to community development and the concept of smart Arctic cities. A second upcoming project will partner with the California Strategic Growth Council, led by Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, to create a pilot project to take cultured seaweed and feed it to cattle to reduce methane emissions.