Navigating the Cape Cod Region’s Blue Economy


Endowed with over 1,000 miles of coastline, tens of thousands of acres of protected conservation and recreation lands, world-renown marine technology and research organizations, and a reputation as an internationally known coastal vacation choice, the Cape Cod Region is truly a maritime centered destination in which to live, work play, and create.

For the better part of a century, the Region has had a tourism and retirement-centered economy that leverages its unique and immense natural resources, as well as its geographic position near population centers in the Northeast. While this strategy has been successful in establishing the region as a world-class leisure destination, it has failed to embrace many other facets of the region’s economy that have grown around its core attribute – water-related resources.

Launched in 2015 by the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, The Blue Economy Project is a regional initiative to promote and sustain a maritime-focused economy on Cape Cod, the islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, and southern Plymouth County. This effort builds on existing tourism industries, a world-class marine research and technology cluster, and sustainable use planning dedicated to preserving our environment and quality of life. Initial project support funding was provided by a grant from the Baker-Polito administration’s Seaport Economic Council.

The blue economy acknowledges that the environment is our economy. It recognizes the vast role that water- both salt and fresh, plays in our everyday life, and the importance of finding a sustainable and symbiotic course for the future.

To achieve this vision, the Blue Economy Project will focus on work in three thematic areas:

Auv launch

A vibrant maritime and technology economy.

The Cape Cod region has historically been a center of maritime industries and has played a significant role in our understanding of water ecosystems. This work area will grow the economic contribution of these sectors in the region through continued innovation and investment into existing, new and emerging sectors.

Pleasant bay grass

Healthy water, healthy communities.

The entire economic well-being of our communities relies on healthy water resources. Strategic investments that support clean water, working waterfronts, and access to water are vital to sustaining our Blue Economy. Recognition of the role that the environment plays in our regional economy is at the core of our growth plan.


A prepared and educated workforce for the future.

Though a highly-educated workforce exists in certain areas of the region, the overall “all-ages” educational and workforce development resources must align to the needs of the growing economy. As a living laboratory for many of the world’s pressing challenges, the region is well suited to career preparation and exporting our knowledge in expanding blue economy fields.

What is a Blue Economy?

Watch this introduction to thinking about the blue economy on Cape Cod, created for a series of nine listening sessions held throughout the region. Created by Ben Hughes.