S.C. Sea Grant Consortium
Aerial panorama of a port town with boats.

The Ocean Economy in South Carolina

South Carolina’s ocean economy is made up of the various business sectors that depend on coastal and ocean natural resources, such as fisheries, aquaculture, coastal tourism, and shipping. The health of South Carolina’s natural resources is important for growing our ocean economy in a sustainable way so that we can move toward a Blue Economy, a concept defined as when economic activity is in balance with the long-term capacity of ocean ecosystems to support this activity and remain resilient and healthy.

The S.C. Sea Grant Consortium tracks ocean economy trends by collecting data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the U.S. Census Bureau, South Carolina state agencies, and other relevant sources.

Ocean Economy Reports

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The Economic Benefits of South Carolina’s Beaches and Barrier Islands (2021)

This report examines the ecosystem services provided by South Carolina’s beach and barrier island systems from an economic perspective. The report synthesizes data from a variety of sources in order to place an estimated value on the services, in order to better inform their wise use and conservation.

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Assessing South Carolina’s Ocean Economy (2020)

This report provides an overview of South Carolina’s ocean economy based on available data; expands upon information provided by NOAA to examine other market and non-market economic benefits derived from coastal and ocean resources; identifies ocean economy sectors for potential future growth; and discusses how natural resource health provides a foundation for economic activities along South Carolina’s coast.

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South Carolina’s Ocean Economy Infographic

An infographic based on the 2020 publication Assessing South Carolina’s Ocean Economy. Updated for 2022 with 2019 data.

Ocean Economy Resources


Podcast: Understanding the Working Waterfronts’ Contribution to the Blue Economy

In this podcast, Matt Gorstein, the Consortium’s Assistant Director for Development and Extension, is interviewed by Ashley Bennis with Texas Sea Grant to discuss South Carolina’s Blue Economy and how working waterfronts contribute to the economic output. The podcast is a collaboration of the National Working Waterfront Network and the American Shoreline Podcast Network.