Strengthening the Blue Economy
North Carolina’s oceans and coastal areas and resources shape a vital segment of the state’s economy, particularly for coastal counties. Thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue for our state depend on the ocean and coast.
A sustainable blue economy emerges when economic activity is in balance with the long-term capacity of the ocean’s ecosystems. North Carolina Sea Grant actively bolsters the blue economy through numerous projects and initiatives, supporting consumers and businesses alike.
Blue Economy Information Series
Resources for Seafood Consumers
Seafood consumers can savor a diverse array of delicacies from our coast. North Carolina Sea Grant’s research-based resources help consumers maximize their enjoyment with tried and true recipes, tips on seafood safety and preparation, info on seasonal availability, and much more.
- For a comprehensive overview of our state’s seafood industry, access our Primer on North Carolina Seafood. You also can read many other articles about seafood in Coastwatch.
- Choose from hundreds of free kitchen-tested seafood recipes through our popular online collection at Mariner’s Menu.
- Find out what’s fresh throughout the year by consulting our seafood availability guides.
- Knowing what to look for and what to avoid is essential when choosing seafood at the market.
- Several years ago, North Carolina Sea Grant’s research showed which species might be prone to higher levels of mercury, which you can access with this guide for consumers.
Support for Sustainable Fisheries, Commercial Seafood, and Aquaculture
North Carolina Sea Grant helps to strengthen a sustainable sea-to-table chain through a variety of projects and initiatives. In addition to raising seafood consumer awareness, for years we have been helping local businesses brand and market their products and also have developed a wide range of resources for producers. Read more in Coastwatch.
In addition, at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, North Carolina Sea Grant created a portal for COVID-19 Economic Assistance and Resources for NC Coastal Businesses.
North Carolina Sea Grant also has developed education, training, research, and related initiatives in support of the state’s burgeoning aquaculture industry.
Projects and Resources for Recreational Fishing, Boating, and Tourism
When it comes to having fun, our state’s coastal communities offer an amazing playground for anglers, sightseers, beachgoers, naturalists, and others – even amateur astronomers. North Carolina Sea Grant routinely offers resources and programs in support of recreation and tourism.
For decades, the tourism industry has been integral to the state’s economy, and North Carolina Sea Grant has partnered to provide resources and support for several projects:
- sustainable tourism on the Outer Banks,
- ecotourism and the Outer Albemarle Peninsula’s stunning nightscapes,
- The NC Oyster Trail,
- The NC Birding Trail,
- people-first tourism,
- North Carolina’s first Heritage Dive Site, featuring the Condor, a Civil War blockade-runner.
North Carolina Sea Grant’s popular Hook, Line and Science series has provided recreational fishers with easily-readable summaries of research and news on a vast range of topics, from how the moon affects fishing to how the climate affects where to find your favorite species. Weekly content also includes tips on boating, as well as the latest science on a variety of other animals, too, like humpback whales, American eels, sea turtles, water snakes, and more.
Economic Research and Resources
Transitioning to a blue economy requires understanding and tracking a wide variety of metrics, as well as prioritizing relevant information for policymakers and decision-makers. North Carolina Sea Grant experts have informed planning at local and state levels in several ways, including these initiatives below.
- The N.C. Seafood Economic Impact Study considers the impact of commercial fisheries on local economies and on the state overall.
- Our Blue Economy Information Series explores ideas and reveals trends that affect the balance between economic activity and the sustainability of coastal resources.
- Researchers from North Carolina Sea Grant and Appalachian State University collected socioeconomic data on the menhaden fishery to illuminate a new menhaden fishery management plan.
- A Community Collaborative Research Grant project cataloged economic and social contexts informing the state of our coast’s seafood processors.
Read more in Coastwatch about how North Carolina Sea Grant works to strengthen the blue economy.