There is a pressing need to adequately measure the significant contributions of Sea Grant projects to targeted U.S. industries or economic sectors. Principal investigators and project managers should consider developing robust theoretical frameworks and primary survey procedures when designing and evaluating the long-term economic impacts and economic benefits associated with each proposed project. These performance measures can be evaluated by project staff and/or outside evaluators.
A recent study identified some of the U.S industries initially served by the research, education and outreach programs of the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium during the past decade. Initial U.S. industries targeted during the past decade were grouped under four focus areas.
- Under “sustainable fisheries and aquaculture,” the following industries were listed: (1) commercial fishing, (2) seafood processing, (3) seafood wholesaling, (4) seafood retailing, (5) marine aquaculture and (6) live bait dealers.
- The “healthy coastal ecosystems” focus area includes (1) research and development in biotechnology; (2) research and development in the physical, engineering, and life sciences; and (3) research and development in the social sciences and humanities.
- Under “resilient communities and economies,” these industries were identified: (1) working waterfronts, (2) commercial marinas, (3) charter boats for hire, (4) saltwater recreational fishing, (5) wildlife watching, (6) coastal restoration and (7) shipbuilding and repair.
- Under the focus area “environmental literacy and workforce development,” five industries were identified: (1) other justice, public order and safety activities; (2) administration of air and water resource and solid waste management programs; (3) administration of general economic programs; (4) regulation of agricultural marketing and commodities; and (5) household sector.
The long-term data on the economic contributions of the targeted industries to the regional economy of Alabama and Mississippi were compiled from various secondary sources. The time-series economic indicators consist of the annual sales and employment impacts of each sector served by Sea Grant projects. In some cases, only the direct employment impacts were available for compilation. When assessing the initial economic impacts on the U.S. industry or economic sectors by Sea Grant projects, these time-series economic indicators set the upper limits to the annual impacts that these projects can generate.
Read more about the U.S. industries served by Sea Grant projects in the Northern Gulf of Mexico region at http://coastal.msstate.edu/sea-grant-sectors.