Marine economy sailed out of Covid-19 doldrums in 2022

By Daniel Cusick | 06/11/2024 04:25 PM EDT

New figures from NOAA and Bureau of Economic Affairs show modest year-over-year growth from 2021 to 2022, but with gains in ship building and tourism.

NOAA headquarters outside Washington.

NOAA headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. Francis Chung/POLITICO

The so-called Blue Economy of 10 marine- and ocean-sector industries continued to grow out of the Covid-19 pandemic despite massive disruptions to the broader economy, according to statistics recently released by NOAA and the Bureau of Economic Affairs.

Marine activities accounted for $476 billion in economic impact in 2022 and generated $777 billion in sales, according to the annual Marine Economy Satellite Account. That’s a 1.8 percent increase from 2021. Marine sector employment was up 5 percent over the previous year, to 2.4 million jobs, outpacing the national economy.

The marine living resources sector, which includes commercial seafood harvest, processing and sales, as well as aquaculture and marine-based pharmaceuticals, was down 6.7 percent from 2021, to $31 billion, but well above 2020 levels.


“These figures show how essential the Blue Economy is to American prosperity,” NOAA Administrator Rick Spinrad said in a statement Friday. “The ocean and the Great Lakes are integral to the overall health of America’s economy, and they impact our lives in numerous ways.”