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Presenting the 2014 State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies report at a press conference in Monterey on Monday, Dr. Judith Kildow, director of the National Ocean Economics Program at the Monterey Institute‘s Center for the Blue Economy, noted the imbalance between the economic importance of coasts and coastal oceans and the federal support for stewardship of these resources. According to the report, coastal states supply over 81 percent of American jobs and contribute $13 trillion to the economy, or 84 percent of GDP.

Dr. Kildow presented the new report by the popular recreation trail along the coast in Monterey while competing with the sounds of a vibrant coastal community: bicycles wooshing by, people laughing, sea gulls cawing, and sea lions barking. Congressman Sam Farr noted that the trail, the most popular tourist attraction in the county, is on public land, just like the most popular tourist attraction in the United States, the beaches in Los Angeles. He warned that he could see “a train wreck coming,” unless there is an increase in federal funding for our coastal areas.

Rep. Farr lauded the NOEP report and said it was a very important contribution to the policy debate because it placed real economic value to our coastal resources. He said he was particularly happy that this important work was being done at the Monterey Institute, where he “went to study Spanish before joining the Peace Corps and going to Colombia.” Farr said there simply was “no place like MIIS anywhere.”

The press conference was covered by leading local news station KSBW and the Monterey County Weekly, and also mentioned in the Monterey Herald. For more on the the State of the U.S. Ocean and Coastal Economies 2014, visit oceaneconomics.org. Download the report.

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Jason Warburg

Eva Gudbergsdottir