We all know access to the waterfront for water-dependent businesses, like seafood fishermen and boat builders, is important.
These businesses create jobs and benefit the local economy.
But, quantifying these impacts has been elusive, at best, until recently.
Two sources have helped us to better describe the economic impacts of working waterfronts: a yet to be published survey by Auburn University, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) E-NOW data viewer. E-NOW stands for Economics: National Ocean Watch, and their Explorer tool shows water-related economic data by sector and county.
Thanks to these two sources of information, we have a clearer picture of the value of our working waterfronts.
In Alabama, the seafood industry alone makes a $311 million dollar impact, employing 1,511 people (see infographic).
This doesn’t even include support industries, like net repair and ice vendors, or other water-dependent businesses like shipbuilding and repair.
Though the picture isn’t complete, it is clear that it is vital to the community to keep our waterfronts working.