Economic Impacts of Marine-Dependent Industries

A variety of industries that contribute significantly to the economies of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida depend on the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs have actively supported these industries for decades, and the Texas, Louisiana and Florida Sea Grant programs recently released a report, The Importance of Gulf of Mexico Marine Dependent Industries and Measuring Sea Grant Programming Benefits on those Industries. The report was designed to provide internal guidance for demonstrating how Sea Grant benefits local, regional and state economies, but it also includes important information about the economic impacts of these industries — commercial fishing, seafood processing, seafood retailing, recreational fishing, and environmental recreation and tourism — on these states and the region.

Texas Sea Grant published a summary document, Texas Sea Grant: A Vital Part of Our State and Supporter of Its Marine Industries, that focused on economic data about marine-dependent industries in Texas and described Texas Sea Grant’s support of these industries. “Industries can be valued, and while we don’t take credit for that value, those numbers show that the people and industries we work with are an important part of the Texas economy,” says Andrew Ropicki, Texas Sea Grant’s Marine Economics Specialist.

Some highlights:

In 2012, Gulf of Mexico-related industries accounted for approximately $161 billion of the United States Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 5.9 percent of GDP in the five Gulf States. In Texas alone, these activities were 8.5 percent of GDP.

Specifically, the economic contributions of these industries in Texas include:

  • $194 million in commercial fisheries landings in 2012, 25 percent of the Gulf total,
  • 4,792 jobs in commercial fishing in 2012,
  • 2,019 jobs in seafood processing in 2011,
  • 13,818 jobs in the retail seafood business in 2012,
  • 15,150 jobs, $1.85 billion in output impacts, and nearly $1 billion in value-added impacts from recreational fishing in 2011, and
  • 12 million wildlife-watching trips in 2011, top among the Gulf States, with 4 million participants spending $1.8 billion.

While Sea Grant can’t always quantify its contribution to these industries with hard numbers, other evidence can show the importance of its work. For example, an effort to improve fuel efficiency in the Texas shrimp fishery resulted in savings of 14.86 million gallons of diesel fuel, worth $41.19 million, without affecting catch amount.