The Gulf-wide economic working groip (EWG) will meet shortly after implementation of the project and develop a detailed protocol for conducting the economic assessment, and describe the expected deliverables. In general, it will involve three steps:
(a) identifying for each state program (or the region in general) the private sector businesses (e.g., commercial shrimp trawling, charter/head boat operations, marine aquaculture, seafood distribution, recreational boating, marine sportsfishing, etc.) that have been substantively assisted by research, extension and/or training provided by Sea Grant;
(b) determine key economic descriptors (total revenues, incomes, jobs, tax generation, etc.) for each of those water-dependent businesses; and
(c) create a summary report of businesses and jobs supported or created by Sea Grant across the region, by state, and by sector of the water-dependent economy.
Where possible, these objectives will be accomplished on a state basis, however, some industries may be better assessed on a regional basis. This decision will be made by the EWG and will be dependent upon availability of secondary data.
In the first year of this project, the EWG will identify the various marine dependent industries in the Gulf region, evaluate the economic characteristics, activities and consequences (output, incomes, jobs, tax creation, etc.) of each sector (where possible) utilizing available secondary data, describe SG-REEO program involvement with those sectors and prepare a written summary report of the findings.
In the second year of the project, the group will perform case-studies for a select group of Gulf-region marine industry sectors with which Sea Grant has a history of applied research and/or extension programs, and describe to the extent possible how Sea Grant interaction has enhanced the economic characteristics and benefits of each. In addition, the EWG will address subsequent related issues identified as a high priority in consultation with the Directors of the Gulf of Mexico Sea Grant programs. The effort will also provide guidance to Gulf-region Sea Grant Directors as to how a future, more rigorous assessment of the benefits from Sea Grant research and extension efforts to the various Gulf of Mexico marine industry sectors would be quantified.