Bailey presents on Maine’s marine economy at Social Coast Forum in South Carolina

This past Wednesday, Megan Bailey, Research Associate at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center presented her research on Maine’s marine economy at the Social Coast Forum in Charleston, South Carolina. Her co-presenter, Kristen Grant, works as a Marine Extension Associate at Maine Sea Grant.

Their presentation is entitled, “Valuing the Marine Economy in Maine” and looks at working waterfronts as the lifeblood of Maine’s 3500-mile coastline. View their abstract below.


Valuing the Marine Economy in Maine

Working waterfronts are the lifeblood of Maine’s 3500-mile coastline. From 2015 – 2017 American lobster was the country’s most valuable single species. Stonington, Maine with roughly 1,000 year-round residents continues to be the state’s top commercial port with nearly $60 million in landings in 2018. The dependence of these communities on lobster poses a clear economic, social and environmental threat.

Communities like Stonington need access to accurate data about their local marine economy to inform decision-making, such as the Town’s work with The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries to plan for fishing community resilience and sea level rise adaptation. While NOAA’s Economics: National Ocean Watch (ENOW) economic framework provides access to data at the national, state, and county-levels, it did not provide needed local-level data. This gap initiated a partnership between Maine Sea Grant and NOAA’s economists at the Office of Coastal Management.

This partnership led to the development of a method of estimating the value of marine economies by pairing the ENOW framework with local knowledge and Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) data. Application of this new method in Milbridge by the Washington County Council of Governments highlights the need for this combined approach as the ENOW framework alone only captured about 5% of the contributions from the Living Resources and Marine Transportation sectors. Without the addition of local knowledge and information from the ACCSP, these contributions would have been vastly underestimated in local decision-making.

Outreach efforts have clarified that communities’ need for this economic data currently outstrips the capacity of communities to access it. To address this gap, Maine Sea Grant and the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine are collaborating to develop a network of trained data analysts to work directly with local communities.