AND THE FUTURE OF COASTAL AND OCEAN ECONOMICS
1, 2005 — How valuable is the fishing industry to a local economy?
is a visit to the beach worth? How does conserving an estuary affect the
economy? For the last few years, coastal managers and economists have been
working to determine the “value” of ocean and coastal resources
such as these.
national initiative, called the National
Ocean Economics Program, or NOEP, is trying to answer these questions
and others so that coastal managers have a better understanding of the value
of an area’s resources and how important they are to local and national
Sponsored cooperatively by NOAA, California
State University at Monterey Bay, and the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, NOEP began primarily focusing on the market value of coastal and
ocean resources — that is, the resources and activities with quantifiable
dollar values and roles in the economy. Charles Colgan, chief economist
for the program, has extensively researched the changing market value of
coastal and ocean resources. Some of his most significant results include
everyone is moving to the coast.
Rather, the coastal population has been growing at a slightly lower
rate compared with inland areas. The difference, however, is that coastal
population growth occurs in a much more limited land area, which is
what causes problems for housing, cost of living, land use and other
The coastal and ocean economy has changed dramatically in the
last decade. Traditional ocean industries (such as offshore
oil and gas development, shipbuilding and fishing) are being replaced
by the recreation and tourism business. “The coast is becoming
the tourism and recreation sector — period,” states Judith
Kildow, principal investigator for NOEP.
As business has boomed on the coast — so has employment, but housing
Instead, more and more people are commuting from inland areas. What
coastal managers especially need to monitor, says Kildow, is the expansion
of this inland population and how they can manage commuters’ transportation
needs, other infrastructure issues and the impacts on the environment
in these expansion areas.
The second phase of NOEP focuses on the non-market value of coastal resources,
or those resources that are not traded in the market, but still have value
to businesses, residents and visitors. The process of evaluating non-market
worth, however, is “much more complicated since there are so many
ways to estimate it,” according to Linwood Pendleton, NOEP’s
non-market research specialist.
and the NOEP team are working on this section of the program in two major
a portal to literature on non-market valuation. This portal is now available
on the NOEP Web site.
Expand this portal into an information system that would act as a “super
database” with built-in user guidance that helps organize non-market
goal of this information center is not only to help managers understand
the non-market values of coastal resources, but also, as Pendleton explains,
“to give these data dollar values so we can compare market and non-market
values and link them to see their relationships.” The group is also
collecting data on living resources, such as what species of fish are
caught every year and where, and what changes are occurring with these
species over time.
While the program aims at getting a good look at the overall U.S. coastal
and ocean economy,
it is also interested in the regional and local values of these resources.
The California Resources Agency recently worked with NOEP to produce an
in-depth report on the economic value of the state’s coastal and
agency had undertaken a similar, but much more limited, study in 1994
and wanted to
see how the initial findings had changed in the last decade. “To
this day, people still quote our numbers from 1992 in articles and reports,”
explains Brian Baird, a program manager for the agency. “We wanted
a better picture of the most recent information.”
addition, the state is overhauling its coastal management policies in
its new Ocean Action
Plan, which focuses on many of the basic principles noted in the recent
report of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The findings of the commission’s
coastal economics report can help the state better understand how management
decisions affect state and local economics.
NOAA, Baird and the NOEP team hope that other states can use the methodology
applied in the California report to get a sense of their ocean and coastal
economies, as well as that of the nation as a whole. “It’s
important that we all understand the human impact on the environment and
how it changes over time,” explains Kildow.
in the NOEP supports the NOAA
Strategic Vision, which calls for an informed society that uses a
comprehensive understanding of the oceans, coasts and atmosphere to make
the best social and economic decisions.
NOAA Coastal and Ocean Resource
NOAA Fisheries Economics
NOAA Fisheries Statistics &
NOAA Economics and Human
Grant Internet Resource for Coastal Environmental Economics
ECONOMIC VALUE OF CURRENT AND IMPROVED WEATHER FORECASTS
TO U.S. HOUSEHOLDS
ECONOMIC CASE FOR AN INTEGRATED OCEAN OBSERVING SYSTEM
WHAT IS THE “VALUE” OF THE BEACH?
IMPACTS OF DROUGHT AND THE BENEFITS OF NOAA's
DROUGHT FORECASTING SERVICES
ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF AN EL NIÑO
IMPACT ON USA ECONOMY
Powell, NOAA Ocean Service,
(301) 713-3066 ext. 191 or Ben Sherman,
NOAA Ocean Service, (301) 713-3066