An Update on the North Shore’s Blue Economy

March 2, 2022 11:30 am

If you’ve lived on the North Shore of Massachusetts for any length of time you understand the humbling feeling that standing in front of the vast Atlantic Ocean can cause. The sheer size is simply unfathomable, but so too are the resources that lie just beneath the frothy waves. 

Today’s blog is meant to focus on the sustainable use of these ocean resources. In a recent broadcast of our radio show, North Shore Conversations, we had the opportunity to speak with three leaders in our state who are working on the Blue Economy initiatives; Dr. Katie Kahl from UMass Amherst Department of Conservation, Stratton Lloyd of the Essex County Community Foundation, and State Senator Bruce Tarr of Gloucester, Massachusetts. 

What Is The Blue Economy? 

We began our conversation with a definition of what the Blue Economy is and what sectors it impacts within the 34 towns and cities of the North Shore of Massachusetts. 

According to the World Bank, the Blue Economy is, “the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.” 

The sectors that this economy impacts include: sustainable fishing, coastal tourism & recreation, ship and boat building, boat repairs, marine transportation, and marine construction. Additionally the sustainable use of ocean resources also include offshore wind development and Aqua Fisheries. 

Organizations that are involved in the initiative to support our state’s Blue Economy include: 

  • UMass Amherst Gloucester Marine Station 
  • Gloucester EDIC 
  • Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce 
  • City of Gloucester 
  • North Shore Technology Council 
  • North Shore InnoVentures 
  • Essex County Community Foundation 
  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts 
  • Economic analysis: UMass Dartmouth Public Policy Center & Springline Research Group

Blue Economy according to World Bank

New Innovations Supporting the Blue Economy

There are a wide variety of initiatives and innovations that the supporters of the Blue Economy continue to strengthen. These range from helping traditional fisheries install and utilize advanced technology on boats, new gear for ground fishing, monitoring fishing populations and climate change impacts, and measuring salinity changes and marine sensors that can show how our oceans are changing all the time. The ultimate goal is to work toward more sustainable use of our waters so that they will remain healthy for decades to come. 

For more information on how you can get involved and on the evolving technology to help make our Blue industries stronger check out the North Shore Blue Economy Initiative Fact Sheet and downloads. 

How Is Massachusetts Positioned to Be a Leader in the Blue Economy? 

Massachusetts is very well positioned financially, physically, and in terms of innovation to become a leader in the Blue Economy movement. There are several factors that make our state uniquely positioned to thrive in sustaining our ocean’s resources. 

  • Our region has a strong connection to the historical fishing industry and is also open to new and innovative ways to tap into the ocean’s resources. Our ports, harbors, and shipping industries have a long and thriving past and people invested in seeing it continue to thrive in the future.
  • Massachusetts, and specifically the North Shore, has a diverse and world-class workforce spanning from the manufacturing industries to biotech and technology fields. 
  • The spirit of innovation and the financing to support those initiatives is strong in our region. 
  • The North Shore allows access to easy transportation, research and premier education institutions, as well as access to financial stakeholders in Boston and the surrounding communities who are invested in the Blue Economy for our future. 

For more information on our evolving Blue Economy visit – North Shore Blue Economy


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