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New London County center of state's maritime industry

By Lee Howard

Publication: The Day

Published March 27. 2013 4:00AM

A study released Tuesday that pegged Connecticut's total maritime economy at nearly $7 billion said New London County accounts for nearly half of the activity statewide.

The report, published by the Connecticut Sea Grant program at the University of Connecticut at Avery Point, looked at the effect of several maritime sectors - commercial fishing, seafood product preparation and packaging, shipbuilding and repairing, boat building, water transport, sightseeing and recreational activities - in gauging the state's maritime economy.

The report, titled "Valuing the Coast: Economic Impacts of Connecticut's Maritime Industry," noted that more than 16,000 jobs in New London County are reliant on maritime activities - out of more than 39,000 statewide. New London County alone received more than $3 billion in direct economic benefits from water-based products and services, according to an analysis based on 2010 economic data.

"Connecticut's maritime related industry is an important contributor to employment in the state," said the report, co-authored by Robert S. Pomeroy, a professor at UConn, along with students Nataliya Plesha and Umi Muawahah.

The report noted that the state's four coastal counties - New London, Middlesex, New Haven and Fairfield - contributed the lion's share of marine activity statewide, accounting for $5.9 billion of the $6.8 billion in economic impact.

That's a significant chunk of Connecticut's gross domestic product of $233 billion in 2010, the report noted.

"Shipbuilding is the sector contributing the most employment to the Connecticut economy among the seven sectors," a summary of the report said.

And New London County, which contains one of the world's leading submarine manufacturers, Electric Boat in Groton, takes the lead in Connecticut with more than 14,000 jobs reliant on the shipbuilding sector, accounting for nearly $3 billion in economic outputs. This compares to a total of 17,600 jobs and $3.7 billion in economic outputs from shipbuilding statewide.

Other counties were dominant in other sectors, with Fairfield taking the lead in seafood product preparation, recreational boating, water transport, sightseeing and boat building. New Haven County topped the state in commercial fishing activity.

"Because this industry buys goods and services from other industries in the state and hires local labor, its economic impacts cascade throughout the entire state economy," the report said.

The report estimated these "value-added" impacts at about $4 billion, with more than $1.7 billion going to people and businesses in New London County.

A previous study of the state's marine economy, done three years ago for the state Department of Economic and Community Development and based on 2007 numbers, said maritime-dependent industries contributed more than $5 billion in business output and netted more than 30,000 jobs. Tuesday's report said the earlier study used slightly different methods to draw conclusions, but the two studies "are comparable and highlight the economic importance of the maritime industry to Connecticut's economy."

l.howard@theday.com

CONNECTICUT'S MARITIME ECONOMY

Economic impact in millions of dollars

 NL CountyState
Commercial fishing15.865.1
Seafood product prep0.845.1
Shipbuilding, repair2,982.43,664.6
Boat building0.217.1
Water transport193.61,009.1
Sightseeing47.11,177.4
Other/recreation60.3853.2
   
   

Employment impact

 NL CountyState
Commercial fishing184.8820.6
Seafood product prep4.1216.3
Shipbuilding, repair14,434.417,607.1
Boat building0.986.4
Water transport671.03,692.9
Sightseeing404.18,169.9
Other/recreation671.99,253.2

SOURCE: "Valuing the Coast," Sea Grant program, based on 2010 economic numbers

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