Polito

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, shown on Feb. 21 will be discussing the “blue economy” with local and state leaders on Friday in Gloucester.

GLOUCESTER — Local leaders from Salem and Beverly are expected to join Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito at Friday’s session on the region’s blue economy.

Polito will meet with a number of local and state leaders from 9 to 10:30 a.m. at the Cape Ann Museum for the annual North Shore Blue Economy Report-Out. The session will dive into the North Shore Blue Economy regional economic assessment and community engagement findings.

“This has the potential to be the largest economic development initiative on the North Shore, especially with the recent announcement of major wind farm work in Salem, a growing visitor-based economy and bio tech moving into our region as an expansion from Cambridge and Boston,” said Ken Riehl, CEO of the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce.

According to the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Gloucester Marine Station, the goal of the meeting is to present a summary of Phase 1 findings: What the North Shore Blue Economy team has learned about the region, its progress, and its potential.

In this first phase, the team has gathered baseline economic data and met with 300 stakeholders across government, business, philanthropy, nonprofit, and research institutions. The team has worked in research partnership with the Public Policy Center at UMass Dartmouth and Springline Research Group.

“The ultimate goal of the 10-year North Shore Blue Economy (NSBE) initiative is to build and implement a sustainable, resilient and equitable regional Blue Economy network, which builds upon our strengths and positions the region to capitalize on emerging opportunities in the blue economy,” said Katherine Kahl, of the Gloucester Marine Station, in a prepared statement.

Kahl said that the “blue economy” is defined as “the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.”

With this understanding, the station and its partners are set on finding sustainable innovation and job creation opportunities that complement traditional marine uses and local heritage.

In Phase 2, the team will focus on growing the North Shore Blue Economy network, developing workforce training and education to drive blue economy job creation, branding and marketing a regional vision, and fundraising to increase capital that will foster entrepreneurship and incubate the blue economy initiatives.

Attendance at the event is by invitation only, and will require masks, but the public can watch a livestream at https://streamography.com/northshoreblueeconomy.

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford may be contacted at 978-675-2705, tbradford@salemnews.com or on Twitter at TayBradford97.

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