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New Hanover commissioners hear presentation on the region's growing 'Blue Economy'

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Benjamin Schachtman
Troy Alphin, senior research associate at UNCW’s Benthic Ecology Laboratory, at Thursday's agenda meeting.

At Thursday's agenda meeting, New Hanover County Commissioners heard a presentation on the “Blue Economy," detailing how Southeastern North Carolina and Wilmington could potentially be global players in the game. The presentation also came with an ask — encouraging commissioners, and other local leaders, to 'get engaged.'

Wilmington has more than just its proximity to water. According to Troy Alphin, a senior research associate at UNCW’s Benthic Ecology Laboratory, the region has shown that it’s open to new avenues of business.

“And something else that we have, according to one of the industry organizations, the startup genome, they ranked the Wilmington region, for startup environments at first in the world, not the country, in the world for being positive towards startups," he said during a presentation to commissioners.

The World Bank describes the Blue Economy as “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of the ocean ecosystem.”

North Carolina’s active ports bring around $12.9 billion dollars to the state and ocean-related work accounted for 13,722 jobs in New Hanover County alone in recent years. Globally, ocean industries are to double to $3 trillion dollars by 2030.

Alphin urged board members to engage with the initiative during “All Blue” week from November 1st through the 6th. Attendees will hear from keynote speakers, participate in events, and more. You can find more information on the event here.