The Center for the Blue Economy provides evidenced-based research and analysis to support sound ocean and coastal management, and sustainable, long-term economic prosperity.

Monterey ocean at sunset-Asilomar beach
The Monterey ocean at sunset, Asilomar State Beach

Our staff, faculty and the students in the International Environmental Policy program, visiting scholars, and colleagues in academic, governmental, and nonprofit institutions collaborate to produce original data (research papers) and analysis (policy papers) to inform sound ocean and coastal resource management.


Putting the Blue in the Green New Deal

February, 2019  In this article, David Helvarg, author and executive director of Blue Frontier, an ocean conservation and policy group and Jason Scorse, Chair of the International Environmental Policy Program and Director of the Center for the Blue Economy at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, suggest a series of policy and investment priorities for incorporation of the blue economy into the Green New Deal.

The Use of Seal Bombs in California Fisheries:  Unknown Impacts Point to an Urgent Need for More Research

December, 2018  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  But the practice poses significant risk to marine life, regulation is weak, and research guiding current policy is outdated and incomplete. Dr. Jason Scorse, Director of the Center for the Blue Economy and Chair of the International Environmental Program (IEP) at the Middlebury Institute, along with alumna Ms. Aimee Kerr (MAIEP-OCRM '18), have researched and written a policy paper entitled:  The Use of Seal Bombs in California Fisheries: Unknown Impacts Point to an Urgent Need for More Research. 

Toward a blue economy : a pathway for Bangladesh’s sustainable growth (English)

October, 2018  The Center for the Blue Economy in collaboration with the World Bank.  This report aims to synthesize the current theory and practice of the blue economy concept to govern economic activity linked to the ocean, and to provide a framework for the Government of Bangladesh to analyze its potential.  Dr. Charles Colgan, CBE Director of Research and CBE Advisory Council Member and Sr. Economist at the World Bank Dr. Pawan Patil are co-authors.

California's Coast and Ocean Summary Report, part of California's Fourth Climate Change Assessment

September, 2018  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.  Dr. Charles Colgan, Director of Research at the Center for the Blue Economy, is a co-lead author of: "California's Coast and Ocean Summary Report."

The Blue Economy Handbook of the Indian Ocean Region

August, 2018  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.  In Chapter two, "The Blue Economy :Theory and Strategy," Dr. Colgan proposes a strategic framework and specific set of strategies to make the sustainable Blue Economy concept actionable.  It covers five key elements:  investment, customers, management, innovation, and measurement.  Chapter fifteen, "Climate Change and the Blue Economy of the Indian Ocean," explores two convergent trends: increased attention and resources devoted to developing the Blue Economy, and the rapid changes evident in the worlds oceans. 

Final Report--Characterizing the Ocean Economies of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

July, 2018  Dr. Charles Colgan, Director of Research at the Center for the Blue Economy, in collaboration with the Eastern Research Group, Inc. and the Coastlines Group, created a report for the The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA's) Office of Coastal Management. This report characterizes the ocean economies of Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and assesses what information would be needed to develop an ENOW dataset for each of these Pacific Island Territories, none of which ENOW currently covers.  National Ocean Watch (ENOW) provides an annual time series of select employment, establishment, wage, and gross domestic product data for all 30 U.S. coastal and Great Lakes states as far back as 2005.  Due to data availability issues similar to those faced in a prior NOAA effort to characterize the ocean economies of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (NOAA OCM 2016), and additional issues unique to these Pacific Island Territories, this study relied primarily on U.S. Census County Business Patterns (CBP) data, local datasets, and information from interviews to describe these three ocean economies.

Climate Change Vulnerabilities in the Coastal Mid-Atlantic Region (English Version)

Vulnerabilidades al Cambio Climático en la Región Costera del Atlántico Medio (Spanish Version)

May, 2018  The Center for the Blue Economy, in collaboration with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute has published a first-of-its-kind report for The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) examining Mid-Atlantic vulnerabilities of several critical economic sectors to climate change. The 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. 

Regional Economic Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise in San Diego County

March, 2018  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. The San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative engaged the Center for the Blue Economy to investigate the potential effects from climate change and projected sea level rise and coastal storms on the economy of San Diego County. The stakes are high, as San Diego County is the 17th largest metropolitan area in the country and the 5th largest in California. San Diego County has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that is larger than 25 other U.S. states.

Marine recreational ecosystem service value estimation: A meta-analysis with cultural considerations

February, 2018  This paper was co-authored by Dr. Stephen Hynes and Heidi Williams MAIEP OCRM ’16 and uses research and analysis that Heidi conducted during her 2015 CBE Summer Fellowship. Dr. Hynes is Director of SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit), part of the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway.  He is a natural resource and environmental economist, and served as a CBE Visiting Scholar in 2012-2013, and currently serves as an Editorial Board Member for Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics. During her time as a CBE Summer Fellow working with Dr. Hynes on this project, Heidi used benefit transfer methods to estimate the non-market values of marine recreation pursuits in Irish coasts and created GIS (Graphic Information System) maps to quantify the ecosystem service benefit values. She is currently employed as a NOAA California Sea Grant Fellow, working with the Delta Science Program in their Water Supply Adaptive Management and Communications Unit.

Arctic Economics Workshop Final Report

November, 2017  On November 6-8, 2017, an Arctic Economics workshop, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, was held on the Monterey campus of The Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California.  The workshop was convened to better understand the state of economic research about the Arctic, search for possible reasons for the relatively few publications by economists and, throughout this meeting to encourage more research by economists about the Arctic.  The workshop was organized by Dr. Judith Kildow of The Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) at MIIS and Professor Michael Goldstein of Babson College, and attended by 16 academic and government participants.

Arctic Economics:  A Framework for Academic Study--Discussion Paper

November, 2017  Prepared by Dr. Judith Kildow of The Center for the Blue Economy (CBE) at MIIS and Professor Michael Goldstein of Babson College, as part of the November 6-8, 2017, Arctic Economics workshop, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, held on the campus of The Middlebury Institute of International Studies (MIIS) in Monterey, California.

Financing Natural Infrastructure for Coastal Flood Damage Reduction

June, 2017  A report prepared for Lloyds of London by the Center for the Blue Economy, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, UC Santa Cruz, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, examines options for financing natural infrastructure (wetlands, mangroves, natural dunes, etc.) that help protect against flooding and storm surge. The results? Investment to conserve natural habitats makes economic sense for investors and insurers. Natural barriers are less expensive than seawalls, the study finds, and with natural infrastructure taken into account, insurers could reduce the amount of claims they pay out and lower premiums. Moreover, there is a large and growing pool of funding available for natural infrastructure investment, with the largest opportunities in redirection of post-disaster recovery funds to pre-disaster risk reduction. With bold action on the part of industry, government, scientists, and communities, natural infrastructure can provide a “win-win-win” for the environment, public safety, and investors. This is the power of the Blue Economy model. 

Navigating the Global Economy: A Comprehensive Analysis of the Massachusetts Maritime Economy

April, 2017  A report prepared for the Seaport Economic Council, under the direction of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, with additional funding and support from Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  The report was created by the Public Policy Center at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, with the Center for the Blue Economy as a contributor.  As part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to  economic growth in the maritime economic sector, Seaport Economic Council works with Massachusetts’ 78 coastal communities to provide statewide coordination of all coastal community planning and investment activities, with the aim to stimulate economic development and create jobs in the maritime economy sector as well as to protect coastal assets that are vital to achieving these aims.

Tradeable Permits for Shoreline Protection:  Reshaping Regulation Under the Coastal Act for the Era of Sea Level Rise

September, 2016  Prepared by the Center for the Blue Economy and the Nature Conservancy.   Less Bureaucracy and Better Protection for the California Coast? An Innovative Market-Based Solution.  California’s coast is one of the premier locations to live in the world. Home to millions of people, as well as a great diversity of natural features and habitats, it is also a place that is disappearing from beneath our feet. Over 30 percent of southern California’s coast is now a fortress against nature. But the fortress undermines itself. Sea walls and armoring protect properties for a time, but result in accelerated erosion in other parts of the shore, which eventually threatens even larger stretches of shore. In a study published in 2016, the Center for the Blue Economy and the Nature Conservancy put forward the concept of a market-based tradable permit system for shoreline protection. The incentive for land owners is a simpler system to navigate with less time for permitting (currently it can take years to get any kind of permit). The incentive from the environmental policy side is a more holistic, nature based management approach that will look at the entire coastline and the effects of each individual action on the entire system. Initial outcomes of this study show that indeed this marketplace approach is less hassle for homeowners while improving ecological impacts. The Nature Conservancy is pursuing funding for a more in-depth study that could be used to approach lawmakers for policy creation.

Northeast Ocean Planning Baseline Assessment:Marine Resources, Infrastructure, and Economics

September, 2016  Prepared by the Center for the Blue Economy, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of Southern Maine, and the New England Aquarium.

Aligning Decision-making and Key Behaviors with Effective Fisheries Management

August, 2016  Prepared for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) by Megan Godfrey (MAIEP OCRM “17) during her time as Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellow, and her supervisor Dr. Rod Fujita, Director of Research and Development, EDF Oceans Program. 

An Economic Justification for the Development and Establishment of Seascapes in the Coral Triangle

August, 2016  Prepared for Conservation International by Sorina Seeley (MAIEP OCRM “17), during her time as Center for the Blue Economy Summer Fellow.

Climate Adaptation and Resiliency Planning for New England Communities: First Steps and Next Steps

May, 2016  Prepared for the six states of the northeastern United States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, by the Center for the Blue Economy and the  EPA Region I Environmental Finance Center at the University of Southern Maine.

The value of recreational fishing in the Irish marine waters: a travel cost analysis using on-site count data models

April, 2016  Dr. Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit) part of the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Editorial Board Member, Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, Center for the Blue Economy, 2012-2013 CBE Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy and Rainey Graeven (MAIEP OCRM “14) which uses part of her data and research during her time as a CBE Summer Fellow working with Dr. Hynes.

Economic Impacts of Climate Adaptation Strategies for Southern Monterey Bay

March, 2016  Prepared for the California State Coastal Conservancy, by the Center for the Blue Economy in partnership with the Nature Conservancy.
 
State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies:  2016 Update

January, 2016  Prepared by the National Ocean Economics Program, Center for the Blue Economy (requires registration with email address for download).

The Economic Effects of Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Exploration and Development in the South Atlantic Region:Issues and Assessment

December, 2015  Prepared for the Southern Environmental Law Center, by the Center for the Blue Economy.
 
Congressional District One-Page Ocean Economies Summary Report

October, 2015  Prepared at the request of U.S. Congressman Sam Farr, for each of the members of the U.S. Space, Science and Technology Committee, by the National Ocean Economics Program, Center for the Blue Economy.

Valuing improvements to coastal waters using choice experiments: an application to revisions of the EU Bathing Waters Directive

November, 2014  Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit) part of the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Editorial Board Member, Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, Center for the Blue Economy, 2012-2013 CBE Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

Literature Review of Assessment of Economic Loss from Water Pollution

October, 2014  Xiaoli Zhang, Professor and Vice-Director, Center for Ocean Economy, Shanghai Ocean University, Editorial Board Member, Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, Center for the Blue Economy, 2013-2014 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

Review Tools for Ecosystem-Based Marine Spatial Planning

October, 2014  Hee Jung Choi, Senior Researcher, Marine Policy Research Division, Marine Environment & Climate Change Research Department, Korea Maritime Institute, 2013-2014 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

The Estimation of the Ocean Economy and Coastal Economy in South Korea

October, 2014  Kwang Seo Park, Director, Polar and Future Policy Research Department, Korea Maritime Institute, 2013-2014 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

The Potential Economic Impacts of the Proposed Central Coast National Marine Sanctuary

September, 2014.  Prepared for the Sierra Club of California, by Dr. Jason Scorse, Director of the CBE and Chair of the International Environmental Policy master’s program at MIIS and Dr. Judith Kildow, Director of the National Ocean Economics Program at the CBE.
  
The Gap between Science and Policy: Assessing the Use of Non-market Valuation in Estuarine Management Based on a Case Study of US Federally Managed Estuaries

August, 2014  Judith Kildow, Director of the National Ocean Economics Program at the CBE and Jing Guo, PhD candidate, Ocean Resources Management, Ocean University of China, 2012-2013 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

A Study on Rebuilding the Classification System of the Ocean Economy

April, 2014  Kwang Seo Park, Director, Polar and Future Policy Research Department, Korea Maritime Institute, 2013-2014 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

Economic Impact of the Commercial Fisheries on Local County Economies from Catch in California National Marine Sanctuaries 2010, 2011 and 2012

September, 2013  co-authored by Kelsey Schueler (MAIEP OCRM “14), during her time as a CBE Summer Fellow with the NOAA, National Ocean Service, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Valuation of the ecosystem services provided by coastal ecosystems in Shandong, China: developing a non-market valuation system

September, 2013  Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit) part of the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Editorial Board Member, Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, Center for the Blue Economy, 2012-2013 CBE Visiting Scholar, and Rui Zhao, Associate Research Fellow, National Marine Data and Information Service, State Oceanic Administration, China, 2012-2013 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy,  and Jing Guo, PhD candidate, Ocean Resources Management, Ocean University of China, 2012-2013 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

The Impact of Surf Breaks on Home Prices in Santa Cruz, CA

June, 2013  Jason Scorse, Director of the CBE and Chair of the International Environmental Policy master’s program at MIIS, and Frank Reynolds (MAIEP “12) and Amanda Sackett (MAIEP “11).

Blue Growth in the Middle Kingdom: an analysis of China’s Ocean Economy

May, 2013  Stephen Hynes, Director of SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit) part of the Whitaker Institute at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Editorial Board Member, Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, Center for the Blue Economy, 2012-2013 CBE Visiting Scholar, and Rui Zhao, Associate Research Fellow, National Marine Data and Information Service, State Oceanic Administration, China, 2012-2013 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

The role of the ocean industry in the Chinese national economy: an input-output analysis

May, 2013  Rui Zhao, Associate Research Fellow, National Marine Data and Information Service, State Oceanic Administration, China, 2012-2013 Visiting Scholar, Center for the Blue Economy.

Understanding the ocean economy within regional and national contexts
March, 2013  presentation prepared for Center for Natural Resource Economics & Policy annual meeting by Charles Colgan, Director of Research, Center for the Blue Economy and Judith Kildow, Director of the National Ocean Economics Program.

Lapis Sand Dollars: An Economic Analysis of Non-Market Impacts of Lapis Sand Mine in Southern Bay
August, 2012  Prepared for the Center for the Blue Economy by Alyssum Pohl (MAIEP 2012) and Lisa Johnston (MAIEP 2012)

Development and implementation of a sustainable seafood traceability system in Costa Rica

August, 2012  Nancy Olsen (MAIEP OCRM “13) prepared during her CBE Summer Fellowship.

A Survey of Seafood Traceability and Sustainability in the United States—Processes, Regulations, and Current Initiatives

June, 2012  Nancy Olsen (MAIEP OCRM “13) prepared during her CBE Summer Fellowship.

Ocean Governance: The New Zealand Dimension

January, 2012  Mike McGinnis, former IEP faculty member.