Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division
Economics & Social Sciences Research Program
Advancing the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation – Economic Status Report
Each year the ESSR program documents and reports the economic status of the North Pacific groundfish and crab fisheries. The results of this analysis are compiled into an economic chapter of the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation Report (eSAFE, www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Socioeconomics/SAFE/default.php).
The eSAFE gives managers and stakeholders recent estimates of economic variables in the fisheries, such as wholesale and ex-vessel value, production, and price; discards and prohibited species catch; and changes in the composition of the fleet. Additionally, the eSAFE also evaluates and reports on the economic status of the fisheries. These data are compiled and distributed not only to inform management decisions but also to provide stakeholders and the public access to data on North Pacific fisheries. As the needs of management and stakeholders evolve, so should the eSAFE evolve to meet these changing demands.
To this end, the ESSR program is advancing and improving the eSAFE in a number of ways. Three distinct areas for improvement have been identified: 1) extended content and analysis could be incorporated, 2) production and accessibility of the eSAFE content could be modernized through new technologies, and 3) feedback from the end users of the eSAFE should be obtained to improve quality and usability.
Informal committees within the program have been formed to improve and expand the eSAFE to meet these goals. These committees are (unofficially) referred to as the content and analysis, document production technologies, and outreach committees.
- The role of the content and analysis committee is to identify and incorporate additional content and analysis into the eSAFE. Content in the eSAFE could include additional forms or (dis)aggregations of data that may be available because of improvements in data collection over time or to provide indices that are useful for analysis. Beyond delivering data, this committee will identify and carry out analysis that will strengthen the "evaluation" component of the eSAFE. This could include economic forecasts to complement the biological forecasts providing management with a more complete forecast of the state of the fishery.
- The document production technologies committee is tasked with leveraging current word processing and web interface technologies to streamline the production of the eSAFE as a document. Simplified production of the eSAFE will enable research to focus more attention on content and analysis. In addition, in conjunction with the Alaska Fisheries Information Network, this committee is seeking ways to improve accessibility to the data and analysis contained within the eSAFE through internet technologies.
- In an effort to reach out to the public and stakeholders, the outreach committee will be soliciting feedback to inform and improve the work of the other two committees. They have created a voluntary survey which is included within the eSAFE. The survey can be accessed at www.afsc.noaa.gov/REFM/Socioeconomics/Contact/SAFE_survey.php.
In addition, they will be contacting known users of the eSAFE from industry, academia, the conservation community, and other members of the public. Additionally, we are attempting to schedule a feedback session during one evening of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in February 2012 (details not yet available). The experience of these users will be compiled and relayed to the other committees to improve the content and accessibility they are seeking to achieve.
The work and effort of these groups will produce advances in the eSAFE that will improve the usability and accessibility for management and the public. Readers of this quarterly report can contribute to our efforts to improve the eSAFE by completing the online survey accompanying the Groundfish SAFE Economic Status Report (link referenced above), by attending the feedback session at the NPFMC meeting in Seattle, February 2012, or by contacting us at Ben.Fissel@noaa.gov.
By Ben Fissel