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Casco Bay is an ecological and environmental treasure to the people who live and work there, to the visitors it attracts, and to the diverse wildlife and living resources that make the Bay and watershed their home. However, the Bay also makes significant economic contributions in the form of jobs, provision of natural resources, and the provision of services. The natural amenities provided by Casco Bay also play a very important role in attracting and retaining high-skilled workers to the region that support a growing innovation-based regional economy. The Casco Bay Watershed Region is home to one-quarter of Maine’s population and one-third of the total jobs in the state, despite containing just 4.4 percent of the state’s land mass. It follows that the health of the regional economy is highly dependent upon the health of Casco Bay and its resources, providing a strong case for protecting and caring for Casco Bay and the watershed. Yet, policy makers, business leaders, and the public do not have a strong sense of the scale and ways in which the Bay contributes economic value or how this may change over time. This study addresses these gaps and sets out to achieve three objectives:

  1. To provide estimates of the current economic market value that Casco Bay contributes to the regional and state economy;
  2. To understand the potential economic implications of changes to the ecological health of the Bay, specifically as a result of the impacts anticipated from climate change; and
  3. To establish a framework for continued monitoring and tracking of the health of the ocean economy.1


1Continued monitoring of Casco Bay's Coastal and Ocean Economy could be simply implemented using the framework established in this report. The methods used here are based on consistent and reliable data sources that are not expected to substantially change in the foreseeable future. These methods are based on working economic definitions (the Coastal and Ocean Economies) that can be carried forward, while allowing for slight adjustments as necessary. Furthermore, these definitions have the advantage that the Casco Bay economy can be easily compared to other coastal, marine, or estuarine regions if warranted.


Casco Bay, Casco Bay watershed


economy, employment, GDP, tourism, fisheries



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