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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

This information series describes research and extension activities related to the state’s ocean economy and the underlying natural resources.

@jkasephoto Credit: Justin Kase Conder Copyright: © 2021 Justin Kase Conder Usage with express permission only.

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.

Customers line up to but their fresh NC seafood from B&J Seafood in New Bern. Photo by NCSU
Shrimp and fishing boats docked in Raccoon Creek in Oriental. Photo by NCSU

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.

Boating visitors at Cape Lookout. Photo by NCSU

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:

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.

Hoisting Fish. Photo by NCSU

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.

Read more in Coastwatch about how North Carolina Sea Grant works to strengthen the blue economy.