New Report Shows Surge in Marine Economy

A new federal Commerce Department report shows that America’s marine economy contributed about $373 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2018, growing faster than the nation’s overall economy.

“The marine economy statistics clarify just how dependent America is on our waters,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, acting director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service. “It is nearly impossible for most Americans to go a single day without eating, wearing or using products that come from or through our coastal communities.”

According to Deputy NOAA Administrator Tim Gallaudet these statistics are the first-of-its-kind estimate of the U.S. marine economy, a primary driver of jobs, innovation and economic growth. “Data such as these provide a critical baseline to inform, track progress and accelerate America’s economic recovery,” said Gallaudet.

In gathering these statistics, the Commerce Department considered 10 sectors representing businesses dependent on the nation’s oceans, coasts and Great Lakes from 2014 to 2018. The data showed that marine-related gross domestic product grew 5.8 percent from 2917 to 2018, faster than the 5.4 percent growth of the total U.S. gross domestic product as measured in current dollars. Businesses included in the report also supported 2.3 million jobs in 2018.

The living resources sector examined for the report, including commercial fishing and aquaculture alone, contributed $13 billion to the nation’s gross domestic product for those years, while ship and boat building added another $9 billion, the report said.

“These prototype statistics offer a baseline for understanding the importance of the ocean economy, including recreation, seafood, transportation and ship building, said Mary Bohman, acting director of the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis. “Businesses, policymakers and coastal communities can use these economic data as a compass as they chart the way forward,” she said.
The complete report and other materials are available online at