Understanding and promoting the Blue Economy and BlueTech is critical for the future of the U.S. and the world. Yet we don’t know in the U.S. and around the world how big our ocean and maritime tech industries are. Why? Because in most countries traditional, “visible” maritime industries (e.g. fishing and shipbuilding) have been on a decline while fast growing BlueTech companies have been largely invisible. Why are they invisible?
First, BlueTech manufacturers typically sell 98-99% outside of wherever they are located so they don’t belong to the local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Agency nor do politicians know they exist. Second, because BlueTech companies are so diverse, while most belong to relevant industry associations, it is not immediately obvious why they should participate in a regional cluster association that represents companies linked primarily by all being ocean related. And on an institutional level, economic industry codes (e.g. NAICS codes for Canada, Mexico and the U.S. in NAFTA) sweep BlueTech companies into larger land-based categories so there is no baseline Blue Economy to assess. Why should economic development and elected officials pay attention if there is no way to understand the current economic value of the oceans let alone future potential?
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