New NOAA report shows U.S. ocean enterprise sector grew 60 percent since 2015

A NOAA ocean glider, seen in waters off the coast of Puerto Rico in July 2018. These robotic, unmanned gliders are equipped with sensors to measure the salt content (salinity) and temperature as they move through the ocean at different depths. The gliders, which can operate in hurricane conditions, collect data during dives down to a half mile below the sea surface, and transmit the data to satellites when they surface.
This ocean glider—or underwater robot—includes a satellite transmitter that helps locate the glider's position at any time. Ocean observations, such as those taken with gliders, are of critical value to the cluster of businesses known as the "ocean enterprise." (NOAA)

The U.S. Ocean Enterprise Report, released by NOAA today, shows significant growth in businesses that provide the technological means to observe and measure ocean dynamics. Called the Ocean Enterprise, this cluster of businesses, which provides essential support to the $2 trillion global Blue Economy and has revenues of $8 billion, saw a 60% growth of businesses—from 500 to 800—between 2015 and 2020. These businesses deliver essential information services to support sustainable use of ocean resources, understand Earth’s climate, and protect ocean health.

“Ocean Enterprise businesses provide observational technology and equipment essential to NOAA's mission to take the pulse of the planet. Those businesses are also important users of NOAA's publicly available data that they turn into actionable information and value-added products and services for a broad spectrum of end-uses—the raw material for building out the New Blue Economy, addressing everything from supporting renewable offshore energy development to ensuring efficient maritime commerce.” said Rick Spinrad, Ph.D., NOAA Administrator. “Understanding the trends affecting these businesses allows NOAA to identify new opportunities and partnerships to further support the Blue Economy.”

Building on the foundational study conducted by NOAA in 2015, this report analyzes trends in the Ocean Enterprise as it responds to the growing and changing information needs of the Blue Economy. 

The report also details:

  • The changes in the markets for Ocean Enterprise products and services as it pivots towards rapidly developing areas, such as offshore renewable energy. 
  • The changes in technologies to meet the needs of present and future Blue Economy markets, most notably a doubling of the number of businesses providing autonomous surface and underwater vehicles as platforms for ocean observations and measurements. 
  • The opportunities and challenges the Ocean Enterprise faces in supporting a growing Blue Economy, particularly in terms of navigating changing markets and the technological means of serving them.

“The combination of people, technology, and data analysis is a powerful way to address societal challenges related to our changing climate and rising seas,” said Carl C. Gouldman, director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System Office at NOAA. “To thrive in the decades ahead, we are going to need a robust Ocean Enterprise to innovate and problem-solve along the way. Our report and study results will help us understand and work with Ocean Enterprise companies to advance innovation more quickly and comprehensively.”

You can find more information on the study here, or download the full report here.

 

Media contact

Jennie Lyons, NOAA, jennie.lyons@noaa.gov, 202-603-9372