Welcome to the new interdisciplinary Alaska Blue Economy Center (ABEC). This center aims to boost Alaska's blue economy by serving as a resource and support center for research, instruction, and outreach related to Alaska's vast aquatic resources and ecosystems.


Chris Sannito at work
Photo by Deborah Mercy.

The goals of the center are to:

  • Serve as a resource to the state by advancing research and education opportunities in fisheries, mariculture, energy, marine observing and technology, and training.
  • Help position Alaska for a broader base of investment in its blue economy.
  • Support entrepreneurialism and economic diversification in Alaska by serving as a liaison between UAF and Alaska’s ocean and inland aquatic industries.
  • Promote ocean economic literacy for the general public and subsistence-based coastal communities in Alaska.
  • Facilitate efficient internal coordination between UAF partner units and externally with state, national and international organizations.

Recent UAF Activities Related to Alaska's Blue Economy

Over the past three years, a number of UAF initiatives and actions have advanced Alaska’s blue economy:

Harvesting rockweed. Photo by Brian Ulaski.
Photo by Brian Ulaski.


Fishing net on boat. Photo by Danielle Ringer.
Photo by Danielle Ringer.

Alaska has over half of the nation’s coastline and approximately one-third of the nation's Exclusive Economic Zone. Major marine and inland aquatic industries include offshore oil and gas exploration, fisheries and tourism. For example, the fisheries and seafood industry is Alaska’s largest private employer with roughly 60,000 workers. Approximately two-thirds of the nation’s fisheries landings are harvested off Alaska at a wholesale value of more than $4 billion.

Alaska’s substantial ocean economy—its “blue economy”—depends significantly on marine research, education and public engagement. Alaska’s oceans, coasts and connecting inland waters are under increasing pressure from external forcing and environmental change. The rapidly changing Arctic is experiencing declining sea ice, increasing ocean acidification, and shifts in aquatic food-web dynamics. Changes to these aquatic ecosystems have far-ranging implications not only for the health, economy and security of Alaska, but for the entire nation.

Coincident with such environmental and policy challenges has been the recent decline in financial resources in Alaska. These challenges warrant a concerted effort to develop a diversified and resilient economy and workforce in the state. In this regard, ABEC will help position the state to grow Alaska's blue economy into the future.


Justin Sternberg

Director, Alaska Blue Economy Center


R/V Sikuliaq in Seward. Photo by Sarah Spanos.
Photo by Sarah Spanos.