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Working Waterfronts


Traditionally, the coastal counties of Alabama have relied on access to the water for their livelihood. Generations of families, based in towns like Bayou La Batre, operate fishing boats, seafood processing facilities, boat yards, and support industries. These water-dependent industries have tremendous economic impacts both on the county and the state:

• Dockside Value of Landings: $36 million

• Estimated Economic Value: $127 million

• Plant Value of Processed Product: $135 million

• Number of working shrimp boats: 240

• Number of other commercial fishing licenses: 1,000

• Number of shipyards/annual revenue: 8/$100 million

• Net makers, fuel docks, general suppliers: 14

More and more, water access and dock space are being lost in this area due to changes in land use and development pressures. The effects of Hurricanes Ivan and Katrina have hastened these changes. Without access and docking – a working waterfront – water-dependent industries will not be able to operate and related businesses will also suffer. In addition to economic losses, the traditional community culture and character could be lost if working waterfronts disappear.

This is a widespread problem not limited to Alabama.  States including North Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Maine are dealing with similar issues. 

AUMERC is working with the Alabama Working Waterfront Coalition to preserve this needed access.


Working Waterfront fact sheet


Department of Fisheries & Allied Aquacultures
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