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Image via NOAA. A cluster of businesses providing essential services in support of sustainable use...
Image via NOAA.

A cluster of businesses providing essential services in support of sustainable use of ocean resources in the $2 trillion global Blue Economy continues to grow, with upward of 800 firms nationwide, according to a NOAA report analyzing trends in ocean enterprise.

The study, released Dec. 7, 2021, lists a total of 814 such firms nationwide, with 2,227 branch operations, including five businesses in Alaska, 151 in California, six in Hawaii, 11 in Oregon and 46 in Washington state.

Report highlights include changes in markets for Ocean Enterprise products and services as the Blue Economy pivots toward rapidly developing areas, such as offshore renewable energy. The report also notes changes in technologies to meet present and future Blue Economy markets, including autonomous surface and underwater vehicles to serve as platforms for ocean observations and measurements, and opportunities and challenges in terms of navigating changing markets and technological means of serving them.

Additionally, the study identifies how the businesses are responding to opportunities in the Blue Economy and how the scale and scope of this industry cluster has evolved since 2015.

“Ocean Enterprise businesses provide observational technology and equipment essential to NOAA’s mission to take the pulse of the planet,” said NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad. “These businesses are also important users of NOAA’s publicly available data that they turn into actionable information and value-added products and services for a broad spectrum of end-uses, the raw material for building out the new Blue Economy, addressing everything from supporting renewable offshore energy development to ensuring efficient maritime commerce.”

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“Understanding the trends affecting these businesses allows NOAA to identify new opportunities and partnerships to further support the Blue Economy,” he said.

Looking to the future, the report states that Ocean Enterprise businesses will play an increasingly important role in delivering product and service innovation underpinning capacity to meet many challenges facing the planet. The challenges range from food security and climate change to provision of energy and natural resources, all while ensuring protection of the oceans.

“To thrive in the decades ahead, we are going to need a robust Ocean Enterprise to innovate and problem-solve along the way,” said Carl C. Gouldman, director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Office at NOAA. “Our report and study results will help us understand and work with Ocean Enterprise companies to advance innovation more quickly and comprehensively.”