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Economic and Social Sciences Research: Current Projects

Research Areas

Click on the links below to view information for each project. Information on past research conducted by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Program is available here as well as in the Project Summary sections of the Economic Status Reports for BSAI/GOA Groundfish and BSAI Crab. Additional project descriptions can be found in the current and past AFSC quarterly research reports.

Markets and Trade

+ Developing Better Understanding of Fisheries Markets

Ron Felthoven and Ben Fissel

For more information, contact

Despite collecting a relatively broad set of information regarding the catch, products produced, and the prices received at both the ex-vessel and first-wholesale levels, our understanding of fishery and product markets and the factors driving those markets in the North Pacific is relatively incomplete. The primary goal of this project is to improve our understanding and characterization of the status and trends of seafood markets for a broad range of products and species. During the past year AFSC economists have met with a number of seafood industry members along the supply chain, from fish harvesters to those who process the final products available at local retailer stores and restaurants. This project will be a culmination of the information obtained regarding seafood markets and sources of information industry relies upon for some of their business decisions. We will be working with a contractor to develop a new document, similar in style and presentation to the Alaska Fishing Fleet Profiles as an example of the level of professional appearance, accessibility and ease of interpretation we hope for in the report. It will include figures, tables, and text illustrating the current and historical status of seafood markets relevant to the North Pacific. The scope of the analysis will include global, international, regional, and domestic wholesale markets to the extent they are relevant for a given product. To the extent practicable for a given product, the analysis will address product value (revenues), quantities, prices, market share, supply chain, import/export markets, major participants in the markets, product demand, end-use, current/recent issues (e.g., certification), current/recent news, and future prospects. We hope to have the report completed by September 2015.

+ Alaska Groundfish Wholesale Price Projections

Benjamin Fissel

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For a significant portion of the year there is a temporal lag in officially reported first-wholesale prices. This is lag occurs because the prices are derived from the Commercial Operators Annual Report which is not available until after data processing and validation of the data, in August of each year. The result is a data lag that grows to roughly a year and a half (e.g. prior to August 2014 the most recent available official prices were from 2012). To provide information on the current state of fisheries markets, nowcasting is used to estimate 2014 first-wholesale prices from corresponding export prices which are available in near real time. Nowcasting provided fairly accurate predictions and displayed rather modest prediction error with most of the confidence bounds within 5-10% of the price. In addition, time series models are used to project first-wholesale prices for 2015 - 2018. Resampling methods are used estimate a prediction prediction density of potential future prices. Confidence bounds are calculated from the prediction density to give the probability that the prices will fall within a certain range. Prediction densities also provide information on the expected volatility of prices. As prices are projected past the current year the confidence bounds grow reflecting increasing uncertainty further out in the future. The results of this project will be presented in the Status Report for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska, 2014. The methods will be published in a forthcoming NOAA Technical Memorandum.

+ Economic Indices for the North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries: Calculation and Visualization

Benjamin Fissel

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Fisheries markets are complex; goods have many attributes such as the species, product form, and the gear with which it was caught. The price that fisheries goods command and the products they compete against are both functions of these various attributes. For example, whitefish products of one species may compete with whitefish products of another species. Additionally, markets influence a processing company’s decision to convert their available catch into different product types. During any given year it is determining whether to produce fillets or surimi, or perhaps to adjusting gear types to suit markets and consumer preferences. This myriad of market influences can make it difficult to disentangle the relative influence of different factors in monitoring aggregate performance in Alaska fisheries. This research employs a method that takes an aggregate index (e.g. wholesale-value index) and decomposes it into subindices (e.g. a pollock wholesale-value index and a Pacific cod wholesale-value index). These indices provide management with a broad perspective on aggregate performance while simultaneously characterizing and simplifying significant amounts of information across multiple market dimensions. A series of graphs were designed and organized to display the indices and supporting statistics. Market analysis based on these indices has been published as a section in the Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska since 2010. A technical report, Fissel (2014), details the methods used for creating the indices.

Fissel, B. 2014. “Economic Indices for the North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries: Calculation and Visualization.” NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-279, 59 p. U.S. Department of Commerce.

Data Collection and Synthesis

+ The Utility of Daily Fishing Logbook Data towards Fisheries Management in Alaska

Stephen Kasperski, Stephan Gmur, Alan Haynie, and Craig Faunce

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Mandatory daily fishing logbooks provide a potentially valuable source of at-sea catch and effort information in Alaska. However, their utility to fishery scientists and managers is limited since logbooks are neither verified for accuracy nor digitized to make them readily available. This study explores the current logbook system and its reporting requirements and analyzes a unique dataset of digitized logbook data from catcher vessels participating in the 2005 Gulf of Alaska (GOA) trawl fishery to determine the utility of these data to fishery scientists and managers.

We compare the uniqueness or redundancy of information reported on logbooks with information gathered from observers and fish tickets. We find there is a large amount of non-duplicated data recorded on the logbooks, particularly for unobserved trips. However, some of this information, especially data on fishing discards, is of insufficient quality to be useful to any user of the logbook data. Based on our comparisons we suggest that there could be an improvement in the utility of the logbook data to fishery managers and scientists if the data were made electronic either through an extension of the eLogbook program or by digitizing the paper logbook forms. Both approaches will enable greater accuracy and spatial coverage for catch location, discard location, and effort of vessels that are not fully observed, which is the most valuable aspect of the logbook data from a research perspective. We do not consider here whether other forms of electronic monitoring, such as vessel monitoring systems (VMS) or video monitoring, would be a better source of some of these data. During 2014, revisions were made to our draft manuscript that will be published as a NOAA Tech Memo during 2015.

+ Evaluating Statistical Estimation Strategies for BSAI Crab Rationalization Economic Data Reports

Brian Garber-Yonts, Michael Dalton, Chang Seung, and Sung Ahn

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In 2005 the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab fisheries managed under authority of NOAA Fisheries underwent a drastic change in management regime when the Crab Rationalization Program (CRP) was implemented. As designed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the CRP allocated catch-share quota privileges to both harvesters and processors with the objectives of addressing excess harvesting and processing capacity and improving the performance of the crab fisheries with respect to low economic returns and economic instability for harvesters, processors, and communities. In anticipation of potential changes in the magnitude and distribution of benefits, employment, and other social and economic effects of the CRP, the Council tasked the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) with leading the development and implementation of a mandatory reporting requirement to collect annual cost, earnings, and employment data from crab fishery participants. Economic Data Report (EDR) data are intended to support computation of a numberof economic performance metrics to evaluate the effects of rationalization on fishery participants anddependent communities, and to provide data and analysis in support of future management changes.

EDR data are a rich source of information for analyzing economic performance of BSAI crab fisheries. As a whole, EDRs include a panel data set of production factor inputs and costs (e.g., fuel, bait), and output and revenue (e.g., landed catch, finished products), and supplement extensive administrative records capturing operational aspects of fishery participants’ production. Despite providing a detailed census of all fishery participants’ costs and earnings, the full potential of these data has not been realized because of data quality concerns arising from non-sampling sources of survey error and a lack of statistical methods for addressing these concerns. While incomplete, empirical information regarding incidence and structure of measurement error in the panel is provided by annual records-check validation audits performed on a random sample of observations. Both the costs and earnings data panel as well as the qualitative and quantitative data quality information regarding the panel are unique among commercial fisheries economic monitoring efforts. In order to make the best use of these data, address existing concerns about data quality, and establish a statistical framework to support future monitoring and analysis, AFSCs economic research program sought technical guidance on how to systematically treat observed and unobserved measurement error and obtain consistent estimates of economic performance measures from EDR and other ancillary data sources. We were also interested in examining the extent to which the addition of EDR cost data improves model performance beyond simpler specifications based upon revenue and effort data.

This study used two sets of data. One set of data includes observations that were audited, and corrected if the observations are found in error. The other set includes observations that were not audited, therefore subject to measurement errors mostly caused by reporting or recording errors. We found that, based on the audit data, not every observation is subject to measurement errors. Only about 20% in the audit data had measurement errors. Therefore, assuming that the audit data were randomly selected, we estimate that about 20% of the observations in the non-audit data have measurement errors, but do not know which observations have measurement errors. This keeps us from applying the traditional measurement errors analysis (i.e., error-in-variables approach, EIV, Fuller 1987) that assumes every observation is subject to measurement errors. Instead, we extended the parametric fractional imputation (PFI) of Kim (2011), and applied the method to the EDR data in which some unknown part of the observations are subject to measurement errors. We computed the parameter estimates from both PFI and OLS methods, and found that the OLS estimates, which are computed ignoring measurement errors, can significantly bias the quantitative relationship between important variables. We are currently working on a manuscript for potential publication in a journal.

+ Economic Data Reporting in Groundfish Catch Share Programs

Brian Garber-Yonts and Alan Haynie

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The 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act (MSA) includes heightened requirements for the analysis of socioeconomic impacts and the collection of economic and social data. These changes eliminate the previous restrictions on collecting economic data, clarify and expand the economic and social information that is required, and make explicit that NOAA Fisheries has both the authority and responsibility to collect the economic and social information necessary to meet requirements of the MSA. Beginning in 2005 with the BSAI Crab Rationalization (CR) Program, NMFS has implemented detailed annual mandatory economic data reporting requirements for selected catch share fisheries in Alaska, under the guidance of the NPFMC, and overseen by AFSC economists. In 2008, the Amendment 80 (A80) Non-AFA Catcher-Processor Economic Data Report (EDR) program was implemented concurrent with the A80 program, and in 2012 the Amendment 91 (A91) EDR collection went into effect for vessels and quota share holding entities in the American Fisheries Act (AFA) pollock fishery. In advance of rationalization or new bycatch management measures in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) trawl groundfish fishery currently in development by the NPFMC, EDR data collection will begin in 2016 to gather baseline data on costs, earnings, and employment for vessels and processors participating in GOA groundfish fisheries.

Amendment 91 EDR

The A91 EDR program was developed by the NPFMC with the specific objective of assessing the effectiveness of Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) avoidance incentive measures implemented under A91, including sector-level Incentive Plan Agreements (IPAs), prohibited species catch (PSC) hard caps, and the performance standard. The data are intended to support this assessment over seasonal variation in salmon PSC incidence and with respect to how timing, location, and other aspects of pollock fishing and salmon PSC occur. The EDR is a mandatory reporting requirement for all entities participating in the AFA pollock trawl fishery, including vessel masters and businesses that operate one or more AFA-permitted vessels active in fishing or processing BSAI pollock, CDQ groups receiving allocations of BSAI pollock, and representatives of sector entities receiving allocations of Chinook salmon PSC from NMFS. The EDR is comprised of three separate survey forms: the Chinook salmon PSC Allocation Compensated Transfer Report (CTR), the Vessel Fuel Survey, and the Vessel Master Survey. In addition to the EDR program, the data collection measures developed by the Council also specified modification of the Daily Fishing Logbook (DFL) for BSAI pollock trawl CVs and CPs to add a "checkbox" to the tow-level logbook record to indicate relocation of vessels to alternate fishing grounds for the purpose of Chinook PSC avoidance.

AFSC economists presented a report to the NPFMC in February, 2014 on the first year of A91 EDR data collection (conducted in 2013 for 2012 calendar year operations) and preliminary analysis of the data. The goal of the report was to identify potential problems in the design or implementation of the data collections and opportunities for improvements that could make more efficient use of reporting burden and may ultimately produce data that would be more effective for informing Council decision making.

Notable findings in the report were that the Vessel Fuel Survey and Vessel Master Survey have been successfully implemented to collect data from all active AFA vessels and have yielded substantial new information that will be useful for analysis of Amendment 91. Quantitative fuel use and cost data have been used in statistical analyses of fishing behavior, and qualitative information reported by vessel masters regarding observed fishing and PSC conditions during A and B pollock seasons and perceptions regarding management measures and bycatch avoidance incentives has been useful to analysts for interpretation of related fishery data. The Council is currently considering action to revise Amendment 91 and these data will be utilized in that analysis in 2015. Additional qualitative data analysis of vessel master survey data is planned following the finalization of 2013 calendar year data. No compensated transfers (i.e., arms-length market transactions) of Chinook PSC have been reported to date (for 2012 or 2013), however, and it remains uncertain whether an in-season market for Chinook PSC as envisioned by the CTR survey will arise in the instance of high-Chinook PSC incidence or if the CTR survey as designed will be effective in capturing the nature of trades. The logbook checkbox has not effectively produced usable information on vessel movements to date. While it can be improved with greater communication and compliance, it is unlikely to be informative regarding all types of location-choice decisions that are motivated by PSC avoidance as designed, or to be fully effective without more uniform deployment of electronic logbook reporting and data capture. The Council did not initiate any review of alternatives for revising the EDR program pending collection and analysis of at least one additional year of data, and the report on the A91 EDR program will be updated for presentation to the Council in February, 2015.

GOA Trawl and Amendment 80 EDR

During 2014, AFSC economists collaborated with NPFMC and Alaska Region staff and industry members to develop draft data collection instruments and a preliminary rule following NPFMC recommendations for implementing EDR data collection in the GOA trawl groundfish fishery. New EDR forms for GOA groundfish trawl catcher vessels and processors were developed, evaluated, and revised in workshop meetings and individual interviews with members of industry, and modifications to the existing A80 Trawl CP EDR form have been made to accommodate Council recommendations to extend the A80 data collection to incorporate A80 CPs GOA activity and capture data from non-A80 CPs in the GOA. The draft data collection forms and proposed rule were reviewed and approved by the Council at their April, 2014 meeting, and the proposed rule was published August 11, 2014 (79 FR 46758; see for more information). The final rule is expected to be published by the end of 2014, authorizing mandatory data collection to begin with reporting of 2015 calendar year data (to be submitted in 2016). In preparation for this, AFSC will continue working with industry to test and refine the draft EDR forms to ensure data to be collected will meet appropriate data quality standards, including modifications to reduce the reporting burden in the A80 EDR program and improve the utility of data collected from CP vessels in non-AFA groundfish fisheries in the BSAI as well as in the GOA.

Recreational Fisheries and Non-Market Valuation

+ Alaska Recreational Charter Boat Operator Research

Dan Lew and Amber Himes-Cornell

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To assess the effect of current or potential regulatory restrictions on Alaska charter boat fishing operator behavior and welfare, it is necessary to obtain a better general understanding of the charter vessel industry. Some information useful for this purpose is already collected from existing sources, such as from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) charter logbook program. However, information on vessel and crew characteristics, services offered to clients, and costs and earnings information are generally not available from existing data sources and thus must be collected directly from the industry through voluntary surveys. In order to address the identified data gaps, AFSC researchers conducted a survey of Alaska charter business owners in 2012, 2013, and 2014.

The survey instrument collects annual costs and earnings information about charter businesses and the general business characteristics of Alaska charter boat operations. Some specific information collected includes equipment and supplies purchased by charter businesses, services offered to clients and associated sales revenues, and crew employment and pay.

Initial scoping and design of the survey was based on consultation with NMFS Alaska Region, ADFG, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and International Pacific Halibut Commission staff members regarding analytical needs and associated data gaps, and experience with collecting data from the target population. To refine the survey questions, AFSC researchers conducted focus groups with charter business owners in Homer and Seward in September 2011 and conducted numerous interviews in 2012 with additional Alaska charter business owners. In addition, the study was endorsed by the Alaska Charter Association, the Deep Creek Charterboat Association, the Southeast Alaska Guides Organization, and Homer Charter Association.

Following OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, the survey was fielded with the help of the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission during the spring of 2012 to collect data for the 2011 season, during the spring of 2013 to collect data for the 2012 season, and during the spring of 2014 to collect data for 2013. After data validation, the data were summarized and analyzed. Due to the high rates of unit and item non-response, data imputation and sample weighting methods were used to adjust the data to be more representative of the population. The specific methods used were described in Lew, Himes-Cornell, and Lee (2015). This process led to population-level estimates being generated and compiled into a report (Lew et al. 2015).

Additional analyses are planned. For example, a regional economic model will be developed using IMPLAN data and the employment, cost, and earnings data from the survey. The model will be used to examine the contribution or impacts of the charter boat sector on the regional economy.  Another analysis is focused on generating estimates at the fishing community level.  In addition, AFSC researchers plan to collect data in the period after the implementation of the Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP), which occurred in 2014.  To this end, plans for implementing the survey in the post-CSP implementation period are in progress.

Lew, D.K., A. Himes-Cornell, and J. Lee. 2015. “Weighting and Data Imputation for Missing Data in a Cost and Earnings Fishery Survey.” Marine Resource Economics 30(2):  219-230.

Lew, D.K., G. Sampson, A. Himes-Cornell, J. Lee, and B. Garber-Yonts. 2015. “Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2011-2013.” U.S. Dept of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-2738, 2015, 134 p.

+ Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Valuation Survey

Dan Lew

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The purpose of this project is to develop, test, and implement a survey that collects data to understand the public’s preferences for protecting the Cook Inlet beluga whale (CIBW), a distinct population segment (stock) of beluga whale that resides solely in the Cook Inlet, Alaska. It is the smallest of the five U.S. beluga whale stocks. In October 2008, the CIBW was listed as an endangered species (73 FR 62919). It is believed that the population has declined from as many as 1,300 to about 312 animals (see for more details). The public benefits associated with protection actions for the Cook Inlet beluga whale are substantially the result of the non-consumptive value people attribute to such protection. This includes active use values associated with being able to view beluga whales and passive use, or “existence,” values unrelated to direct human use. No empirical estimates of these values for Cook Inlet beluga whales are currently available, but this information is needed for decision makers to more fully understand the trade-offs involved in evaluating population recovery planning alternatives and to complement other information available about the costs, benefits, and impacts of alternative plans (including public input).

Considerable effort was invested in developing and testing the survey instrument. Qualitative pretesting of survey materials is generally recognized as a key step in developing any high quality survey (e.g., Dillman, Smyth, Christian [2009]). Pretesting survey materials using focus groups and cognitive interviews is important for improving questions, information, and graphics presented in the survey instruments so they can be better understood and more consistently interpreted by respondents to maximize the likelihood of eliciting the desired information accurately. During 2009 and 2010, focus groups and cognitive interviews were undertaken to evaluate and refine the survey materials of a stated preference survey of the public’s preferences for CIBW recovery. As a result of the input received from these qualitative testing activities, the survey materials were revised and then integrated into a Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) clearance request package that was prepared and submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the pilot survey implementation, which precedes implementing the full survey. The pilot survey was administered during 2011. PRA clearance for the full survey implementation was obtained in spring 2013, and the full survey was fielded in late 2013. The data were cleaned and validated before delivery at the end of the year. During 2014, models were developed to analyze the data and preliminary estimates of willingness to pay were generated.

Dillman, D.A., J.D. Smyth, and L.M. Christian. 2009. Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. 3rd edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

+ Demand for Saltwater Sport Fishing Trips in Alaska

Dan Lew and Doug Larson

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The primary goal of this study is to estimate the demand for, and economic value of, saltwater sport fishing trips in Alaska using data collected from an economic survey of Alaska anglers. The survey instrument collects basic trip information on fishing trips taken during 2006 by both resident and non-resident anglers and uses a stated preference choice experiment framework to identify anglers’ preferences for fish size, catch, and harvest regulations related to halibut, king (Chinook) salmon and silver (Coho) salmon. The survey also includes questions that provide detailed information on time and money constraints and characteristics of the most recent fishing trip, including detailed trip expenditures. Details on the survey implementation and data collected are provided in Lew, Lee, and Larson (2010).

Together, these data were used to estimate the demand for Alaska saltwater sport fishing and to understand how attributes such as fish size and number caught and harvest regulations affect participation rates and the value of fishing experiences. Several papers describing models that estimate the net economic value of saltwater sport fishing trips by Southeast Alaska anglers using these data were completed. The first paper (Lew and Larson, 2011) describes a model of fishing behavior that accounts for two decisions, participation and site choice, which is estimated using a repeated discrete choice modeling approach. The paper presents the results from estimating this model and the economic values suggested by the model results with a primary emphasis on Chinook and Coho salmon trip values. The second paper (Larson and Larson, 2013) analyzes the role of targeting behavior and the use of different sources of harvest rate information on saltwater sportfishing demand in Southeast Alaska. The third paper (Larson and Lew, 2014) is primarily methodological, as it assesses different ways of estimating the opportunity cost of travel time in the recreational fishing demand model. In the latter two papers, economic values for saltwater species are presented, but the emphases of the papers are on addressing other issues.

During 2010 and early 2011, the 2007 survey was updated and qualitatively tested with resident and non-resident anglers. The new survey aimed to collect much of the same information collected by the 2007 survey, but also collected additional information needed to facilitate the data’s application in a wider range of models and for a wider range of policies. During 2012, the updated survey was fielded following OMB clearance. The data are currently being analyzed, and similar models to those described above will be applied to the data to estimate economic values of saltwater sport fishing in the near future.

Larson, D.M., and D.K. Lew. 2013. “How Do Catch Rates Affect Angler Trip Patterns?” Marine Resource Economics, 28(2): 155-173.

Larson, D.M., and D.K. Lew. 2014. “The Opportunity Cost of Travel Time as a Noisy Wage Fraction.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2): 420-437.

Lew, D.K. and D.M. Larson. 2011. “A Repeated Mixed Logit Approach to Valuing a Local Sport Fishery: The Case of Southeast Alaska Salmon.” Land Economics 87(4): 712-729.

Lew, D.K., J. Lee, and D.M. Larson. 2010. “Saltwater Sport Fishing in Alaska: A Summary and Description of the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Economic Survey, 2007.” U.S. Dept of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-214, 229 pages.

+ Estimating Economic Values for Saltwater Sport Fishing in Alaska Using Stated Preference Data

Dan Lew and Doug Larson

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Knowing how anglers value their fishing opportunities is a fundamental building block of sound marine policy, especially for stocks for which there is conflict over allocation between different uses (e.g., allocation between recreational and commercial uses). This research focuses on the analysis of stated preference choice experiment data related to how recreational saltwater anglers value their catches and the regulations governing Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis, Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, and coho salmon O. kisutch off the coast of Alaska.

The data used in the analyses are from national mail surveys conducted during 2007 and 2012 of people who purchased sport fishing licenses in Alaska in 2006 and 2011, respectively. The surveys were developed with input collected through several focus groups and cognitive interviews with Alaska anglers, as well as from fishery managers. Each survey included several stated preference choice experiment questions, which ask respondents to choose between not fishing and two hypothetical fishing trip options that differ in the species targeted, length of the trip, fishing location, trip cost, and catch-related characteristics (including the expected catch and harvest restrictions). Responses to these questions are analyzed using random utility maximization-based econometric models. The model results are then used to estimate the economic value, or willingness to pay, non-resident and Alaska resident anglers place on saltwater boat fishing trips in Alaska and assess their response to changes in characteristics of fishing trips.

For the 2007 survey data, the results show that Alaska resident anglers had mean trip values ranging from $246 to $444, while non-residents had much higher values ($2,007 to $2,639), likely reflecting that their trips are both less common and considerably more expensive to take. Non-residents generally had significant positive values for increases in number of fish caught, bag limit, and fish size, while Alaska residents valued size and bag limit changes but not catch increases. The economic values are also discussed in the context of allocation issues, particularly as they relate to the sport fishing and commercial fishing sectors for Pacific halibut. A comparison of the marginal value estimates of Pacific halibut in the two sectors suggests that the current allocation is not economically efficient, as the marginal value in the sport sector is higher than in the directed halibut fishery in the commercial sector. Importantly, the results are not able to provide an estimate of how much allocation in each sector would result in the most efficient allocation, which requires additional data and analysis to fully estimate the supply and demand for Pacific halibut in each sector. The results from this study have been published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management (Lew and Larson 2012).

Since the 2007 data support a model specification that differentiates between values for fish that are caught and kept, caught and released (due to a bag limit restriction), and only potentially caught (fish in excess of the number caught but within the bag limit), additional work has been conducted to derive the value of these types of fishing trips. The estimated models indicate these different catch variables are important and anglers view them distinctly, generally valuing the fish they keep the highest and those they are required to release, or potentially catch, less. The marginal values anglers place on catch and release fish and potential fish were generally positive. And as a result, among resident anglers at least, this contributed to mean trip values for salmon catch-and-release fishing trips being larger than trips where the anglers catch their limits, suggesting that trips where anglers do not catch their limits are valuable. Alaska residents were willing to pay more for catch and keep halibut trips. Importantly, however, the mean trip values associated with catch-and-release only trips and trips where anglers harvested fish were not statistically different in any comparison. In addition, as illustrated above, differentiating between different types of fishing and estimating separate values for each type can influence the calculations of the marginal value of a fish often desired in policy evaluation. The paper (Lew and Larson 2014) summarizing these results has been published in Fisheries Research.

In addition, analyses are proceeding using data from the Alaska saltwater sport fishing survey conducted during 2012 that collected information on fishing behavior and preferences from people who purchased sport fishing licenses in Alaska in 2011. The stated preference choice experiment questions in that survey capture angler preferences for regulatory tools that were not in place when the previous survey was conducted (e.g., maximum size limits on Pacific halibut). Results from the analysis of these data were presented at the 2013 North American Association of Fisheries Economists Biennial Forum and at the NMFS Recreational Fisheries Data and Model Needs Workshop and published in Marine Policy (Lew and Larson 2015).  The values reported in the paper include economic values of charter boat fishing trips under different size and bag limit regulations for Pacific halibut for non-resident anglers fishing in Alaska.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2012. “Economic Values for Saltwater Sport Fishing in Alaska: A Stated Preference Analysis.” North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 32(4): 745-759.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2014. “Is a Fish in Hand Worth Two in the Sea? Evidence from a Stated Preference Study.” Fisheries Research 157: 124-135.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2015. “Stated Preferences for Size and Bag Limits of Alaska Charter Boat Anglers.” Marine Policy 61: 66-76.

+ Geospatial Aspects of Non-Market Values for Threatened and Endangered Marine Species

Kristy Wallmo and Dan Lew

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An issue that arises in applying non-market values in policy settings is defining the extent of the economic jurisdiction – the area that includes all people who hold values – for a good or service. In this research, we estimate non-market values for recovering several threatened and endangered marine species in the U.S. and assess the geospatial distribution across the U.S. In Wallmo and Lew (2015), we compare estimates for households in the nine Census regions, as well as for the entire nation. We statistically compare species values between the regional samples to help determine the extent of and variation in the economic jurisdiction for endangered species recovery.

In related work, we more closely examine spatial distribution of individual willingness to pay values using tools from geographical analysis (Johnston et al. 2015). The paper demonstrates a suite of analytic methods that may be used to characterize otherwise undetectable spatial heterogeneity in stated preference willingness to pay (WTP). We emphasize flexible methods applicable to large scale analysis with diffuse policy impacts and uncertainty regarding the appropriate scales over which spatial patterns should be evaluated. Illustrated methods include spatial interpolation and multi-scale analysis of hot/cold spots using local indicators of spatial association. An application to threatened and endangered marine species illustrates the empirical findings that emerge. Relevant findings include previously unobserved, large scale clustering of non-use WTP estimates that appears at multiple scales of analysis.

Wallmo, K., and D.K. Lew. 2015.  “Public Preferences for Endangered Species Recovery:  An Examination of Geospatial Scale and Non-Market Values.”  Frontiers in Marine Science 2:55..

Johnston, R., D. Jarvis, K. Wallmo, and D.K. Lew. 2015.  “Characterizing Large Scale Spatial Pattern in Nonuse Willingness to Pay:  An Application to Threatened and Endangered Marine Species.”  In pressat Land Economics.

Models of Fishermen Behavior, Management and Economic Performance

+ Hidden Flexibility: Institutions, Incentives, and the Hidden Margins of Selectivity in Fishing

Joshua K. Abbott, Alan C. Haynie, and Matthew N. Reimer

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In 2008, participants in the non-pollock “Amendment 80” groundfish trawl fisheries were given exclusive harvesting quota privileges through their participation in cooperatives to a share of their primary target species – ending the previous common property system for all but a small number of vessels that opted out of the program.

The degree to which selectivity in fisheries is malleable to changes in incentive structures is critical for policy design. We examine data for the Amendment 80 fishery before and after a transition from management under common-pool quotas to a fishery cooperative and note a substantial shift in post-cooperative catch from bycatch and toward valuable target species. We examine the margins used to affect catch composition, finding that large and fine-scale spatial decision making and avoidance of night fishing were critical. We argue that the poor incentives for selectivity in many systems may obscure significant flexibility in multispecies production technologies. This manuscript is forthcoming at Land Economics.

Abbott, J., A. Haynie, and M. Reimer.  2014. “Targeting Ability Under Rights-Based Management: The Amendment 80 Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish Fishery.” In press at Land Economics.

+ The Economic Impacts of Technological Change in North Pacific Fisheries

Benjamin Fissel, Ben Gilbert and Jake LaRiviere

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Technological advancements have had a significant impact on fishing fleets and their behavior. Technology has expanded both the range of fish stocks we are able to target and the efficiency with which we capture, process, and bring products to market. Technology induced changes in the feasibility and efficiency of fishing can impact the composition and behavior the fishing fleet. Fissel and Gilbert (2014) provide a formal bioeconomic model with technological change showing that marked technology advances can explain over-capitalization as a natural fleet behavior for profit maximizing fishermen when total catch and effort are unconstrained and the technological advancements are known. Extending this analysis to North Pacific fisheries requires research on the theory of technological change in TAC-based and catch share management regimes as well as statistical methods for identifying unknown technological events as this data hasn’t been historically collected. Fissel, Gilbert and LaRiviere (2013) extends the theory of technological change to by considering the incentive to adopt new technologies under in an open-access resource setting, finding that low stock levels in particular increase adoption incentives. This ongoing project develops the theory and methods necessary to analyze technological change in North Pacific fisheries through two in-progress manuscripts. Fissel (2013) adapts statistical methods for identifying marked changes in financial times series to the fisheries context using both simulation and empirics to show and validate the methods. North Pacific fisheries are considered with these methods as a case where technological change is unknown. This manuscript is expected to be completed in 2015. Future research on this project will use the results from these papers to analyze the impact of technological advancement in North Pacific fisheries with particular attention toward the impact of on-board computers.

Fissel, B. and B. Gilbert. 2014. “Technology Shocks and Capital Investment in the Commons”, under revision at Environmental and Resource Economics.

LaRiviere, J., B. Fissel and B. Gilbert. 2013. “Technology Adoption and Diffusion with Uncertainty in a Commons.” Economics Letters 120(2): 297-301.

Fissel, B. 2014. “Estimating Unknown Productivity Shocks in Fisheries.” In progress.

+ FishSET: a Spatial Economics Toolbox to better Incorporate Fisher Behavior into Fisheries

Alan C. Haynie and Corinne Bassin

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Since the 1980s, fisheries economists have modeled the factors that influence fishers’ spatial and participation choices in order to understand the trade-offs of fishing in different locations. This knowledge can improve predictions of how fishers will respond to area closures, changes in market conditions, or to management actions such as the implementation of catch share programs.

NOAA Fisheries and partners are developing the Spatial Economics Toolbox for Fisheries (FishSET). The aim of FishSET is to join the best scientific data and tools to evaluate the trade-offs that are central to fisheries management. FishSET will improve the information available for NOAA Fisheries’ core initiatives such as coastal and marine spatial planning and integrated ecosystem assessments and allow research from this well-developed field of fisheries economics to be incorporated directly into the fisheries management process.

One element of the project is the development of best practices and tools to improve data organization. A second core component is the development of estimation routines that enable comparisons of state-of-the-art fisher location choice models. FishSET enables new models to be more easily and robustly tested and applied when the advances lead to improved predictions of fisher behavior. Pilot projects that utilize FishSET are in different stages of development in different regions in the United States, which will ensure that the data challenges that confront modelers in different regions are confronted at the onset of the project. Implementing projects in different regions will also provide insight into how economic and fisheries data requirements for effective management may vary across different types of fisheries. In Alaska, FishSET is currently being utilized in pilot projects involving the Amendment 80 and AFA pollock fisheries, but in the future models will be developed for many additional fishing fleets.

+ Evaluating the Effectiveness of Rolling Hotspot Closures for Salmon Bycatch Reduction in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery

Alan C. Haynie

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Bycatch is commonly noted as a primary problem of fisheries management and has been a recurrent management concern in the North Pacific. Bycatch levels of chum and Chinook salmon rose substantially beginning early in the last decade, with chum bycatch peaking in 2005 and Chinook bycatch reaching a record high in 2007 before bycatch of both species declined. Prior to 2011, in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, Chinook and chum salmon bycatch reduction measures consisted principally of area closures, although a Chinook salmon bycatch hard cap with individual bycatch allocations went into effect beginning 2011 which would close the fishery if the cap were reached.

Since the mid-1990s, area closures aimed at bycatch reduction have consisted of both large long-term Salmon Savings Area closures and short-term rolling hotspot (RHS) closures. Significant areas of the pollock fishing grounds have been closed at some point in all years between 1995 and 2011. Currently, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is considering several measures to further reduce Chinook and chum bycatch, including evaluating means to improve industry-imposed RHS closures. In this paper, we quantify the reduction in bycatch following the implementation of actual RHS closures. We also briefly discuss the hard cap and incentive plan agreements (IPAs) that were put in place in 2011 to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch. This work is part of on-going NPFMC consideration of salmon bycatch reduction measures and will also be submitted as a manuscript to a scientific journal.

+ Assessing the Economic Impacts of 2011 Steller Sea Lion Protective Measures in the Aleutian Islands

Alan Haynie, Ben Muse, and Matthew Reimer

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One of the primary challenges to fisheries management in Alaska continues to be protecting the endangered Western stock of Steller sea lions.  For more than 20 years, regulations have restricted fishing effort in the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, and Gulf of Alaska.  In 2011, additional measures were implemented that further restricted fishing in the Aleutians because of concern that fishing there is harming the SSL population. This research is an assessment of the costs the recent 2011 protection measures in the Aleutians generated in affected fisheries.  The project is underway and will be completed in early 2015 and a manuscript will be submitted to a scientific journal.

Because regulations have been sequentially implemented over more than two decades, the reference point is not the native state of the fishery, but rather the years prior to 2011.  In 2008 Amendment 80 (A80) created cooperatives that granted catch shares to vessels based on individual catch history.  Comparing this fishery in the period after the implementation of A80 and before the 2011 SSL measures, with the period since the implementation of the 2011 measures is likely to give the best assessment of impacts on this fishery.  Spatial data will be utilized for earlier periods to inform analysts of the value of fishing in different areas that were closed by earlier actions.

For several reasons, the impacts on A80 vessels are expected to be most comprehensively calculable relative to other fishing fleets.  First, economic data reports (EDR) and 100-percent observer coverage are available for the fishery since 2008. Second, considerable spatial analysis of the A80 fishery has been conducted in previous research (Abbott, Haynie, and Reimer 2014).  For the Pacific cod catcher/processor non-trawl, and catcher vessel trawl and non-trawl fisheries, less groundwork has been conducted in analyzing their spatial behavior in the Aleutian Islands.  Therefore a hybrid approach will be employed, in which different types of models will be utilized for the different fisheries.

Using a variety of statistical and econometric techniques, fishing behavior, production, and revenue will be examined for the years prior to, and following, the implementation of the SSL protective measures.  The actual alternative fishing actions of the vessels affected by the SSL actions will be carefully assessed so that a net cost rather than gross impact of the management action is estimated.  Additionally, the amount of effort that is re-allocated to the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska as a result of the 2011 actions will be estimated. This information will provide insight into whether this shift in effort is likely to have adversely impacted the vessels that have historically fished primarily or only in the Bering Sea.  For the other fisheries in this study, we will examine and summarize the pre- and post-2011 fishing actions of the different fleets. The changes in effort, spatial behavior, and species mix will be summarized.

Abbott, J., A. Haynie, and M. Reimer. 2014. “Hidden Flexibility: Institutions, Incentives and the Margins of Selectivity in Fishing.” In press at Land Economics.

+ Climate Change and Location Choice in the Pacific Cod Longline Fishery

Alan Haynie and Lisa Pfeiffer

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Pacific cod is an economically important groundfish that is targeted by trawl, pot, and longline gear in waters off Alaska.  An important sector of the fishery is the “freezer longliner” segment of the Bering Sea which in 2008 accounted for $220 million of the Pacific cod first wholesale value of $435 million. These vessels are catcher/processors, meaning that fish caught are processed and frozen in a factory onboard the ship.

A dramatic shift in the timing and location of winter season fishing has occurred in the fishery since 2000. This shift is related to the extent of seasonal sea ice, as well as the timing of its descent and retreat. The presence of winter ice cover restricts access to a portion of the fishing grounds. Sea ice also affects relative spatial catch per unit effort by causing a cold pool (water less than 2°C that persists into the summer) that Pacific cod avoid. The cold pool is larger in years characterized by a large and persistent sea ice extent. Finally, climate conditions and sea ice may have lagged effects on harvesters’ revenue through their effect on recruitment, survival, total biomass, and the distribution of size and age classes. Different sizes of cod are processed into products destined for district markets. The availability and location of different size classes of cod, as well as the demand for these products, affects expected revenue and harvesters’ decisions about where to fish.

Understanding the relationship between fishing location and climate variables is essential in predicting the effects of future warming on the Pacific cod fishery. Seasonal sea ice is projected to decrease by 40% by 2050, which will have implications for the location and timing of fishing in the Bering Sea Pacific cod longline fishery.  Our research indicates that warmer years have resulted in lower catch rates and greater travel costs, a pattern which we anticipate will continue in future warmer years.  Work is on-going on a manuscript that will be submitted to a scientific journal upon completion.

+ Using Vessel Monitoring System Data to Estimate Spatial Effort in Bering Sea Fisheries for Unobserved Trips

Alan Haynie, Patrick Sullivan, and Jordan Watson

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A primary challenge of marine resource management is monitoring where and when fishing occurs. This is important for both the protection and efficient harvest of targeted fisheries. Vessel monitoring system (VMS) technology records the time, location, bearing, and speed for vessels. VMS equipment has been employed on vessels in many fisheries around the world and VMS data has been used in enforcement, but a limited amount of work has been done utilizing VMS data to improve estimates of fishing activity. This paper utilizes VMS and an unusually large volume of government observer-reported data from the United States Eastern Bering Sea pollock fishery to predict the times and locations at which fishing occurs on trips without observers onboard. We employ a variety of techniques and specifications to improve model performance and out-of-sample prediction and find a generalized additive model that includes speed and change in bearing to be the best formulation for predicting fishing. We assess spatial correlation in the residuals of the chosen model, but find no correlation after taking into account other VMS predictors. We compare fishing effort to predictions for vessels with full observer coverage for 2003-2010 and compare predicted and observer-reported activity for observed trips. In this project, we have worked to address challenges that result from missing observations in the VMS data, which occur frequently and present modeling complications. We conclude with a discussion of policy considerations. Results of this work will be published in a scientific journal. We are also working with the NMFS Alaska Regional Office to attempt to improve the Region’s spatial effort database and we will extend the model to other fisheries.

+ Using Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Data to Identify and Characterize Trips made by Bering Sea Fishing Vessels

Jordan Watson and Alan Haynie

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Catch per unit effort (CPUE) is among the most common metrics for describing commercial fisheries. However, CPUE is a relatively fish-centric unit that fails to convey the actual effort expended by fishers to capture their prey. By resolving characteristics of entire fishing trips, in addition to their CPUE, a broader picture of fishers’ actual effort can be exposed. Furthermore, in the case of unobserved fishing, trip start and end times may be required in order to estimate CPUE from effort models and landings data. In this project, we utilize vessel monitoring system (VMS) data to reconstruct individual trips made by catcher vessels in the Eastern Bering Sea fishery for walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) from 2003 – 2013. Our algorithm implements a series of speed, spatial and temporal filters to determine when vessels leave and return to port. We then employ another set of spatial filters and a probabilistic model to characterize vessel trips as fishing versus non-fishing. Once trips are identified and characterized, we summarize the durations of trips and the distances traveled -- metrics that can be subsequently used to characterize changes in fleet behaviors over time. This approach establishes a baseline of trip behaviors and will provide an improved understanding of how fisheries are impacted by management actions, changing economics, and environmental change.

+ Bioeconomic Models of North Pacific Crab Stocks to Analyze Effects of Market Variability and Climate-Oceanographic Change

Mike Dalton, Brian Garber-Yonts, and Andr´e Punt

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Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is the default reference point in U.S. fisheries management.However the Magnuson-Stevens Act defines optimum yield in National Standard 1 as the amount of fish that provides the greatest overall benefit to the nation, which could deviate from MSY because of economic (or other) factors. While it has long been recognized that MSY is not in general an economic optimum, estimates of maximum economic yield (MEY) are not typically reported in fishery management plans, presumably because of data limitations on economic costs related to fishing. Furthermore, uncertainty is a fundamental feature of the environment in which fishermen and processors make decisions. Coupled bioeconomic models are being developed to analyze effects of market variability and changes in climate-ocean conditions on North Pacific crab stocks. The first bioeconomic model that was developed consisted of a population dynamics model for the Eastern Bering Sea snow crab stock (BSS) coupled to an economic dynamics model, which was calibrated to revenue and cost data from the BSAI Crab EDR database. The second bioeconomic model is similar to the first, but applied to the Bristol Bay red king crab stock (BBR). To evaluate impacts of ocean acidification on the BBR stock, this second model was extended with an explicit stage structured pre-recruitment component that was calibrated to results of exposure experiments conducted at the AFSC Kodiak lab. The third model coupled the BBR and BSS bioeconomic models to estimate joint maximum economic yield. A new project for 2012-13 at the University of Washington’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere will develop a bioeconomic model for the Bering Sea tanner crab (BST) stock, including a pre-recruitment component. The BST bioeconomic model will be coupled with BBR and BSS bioeconomic models, and used to forecast effects of ocean acidification. The development of a bioeconomic model for Aleutian Islands golden king crab is planned for future research.

Models with Interactions Across Species

+ Optimal Multi-species Harvesting in Ecologically and Economically Interdependent Fisheries

Stephen Kasperski

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Single-species management of multi-species fisheries ignores ecological interactions in addition to important economic interactions to the detriment of the health of the ecosystem, the stocks of fish species, and fishery profits. This study uses a model to maximize the net present value from a multispecies groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea where species interact ecologically in the ecosystem, and economically through vessels’ multi-product harvesting technology, switching gear types, and interactions in output markets. Numerical optimization techniques are used to determine the optimal harvest quota of each species over time. This study highlights the need to incorporate both ecological and economic interactions that occur between species in an ecosystem.

This study uses the arrowtooth flounder, Pacific cod, and walleye pollock fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region off Alaska as a case study and finds the net present value of the three-species fishery is over $20.7 billion dollars in the multispecies model, over $5 billion dollars more than the net present value of the single species model. This is a function of the interdependence among species that affects other species growth. Because arrowtooth negatively impacts the growth of cod and pollock, substantially increasing the harvest of arrowtooth to decrease its stock is optimal in the multispecies model as it leads to increased growth and therefore greater potential harvests of cod and pollock. The single species model does not incorporate the feedback among species, and therefore assumes each species is unaffected by the stock rise or collapse of the others. The vessels in this fishery are also shown to exhibit cost anti-complementarities among species, which implies that harvesting multiple species jointly is more costly than catching them independently. As approaches for ecosystem-based fisheries management are developed, the results demonstrate the importance of focusing not only on the economically valuable species interact, but also on some non-harvested species, as they can affect the productivity and availability of higher value species. A manuscript describing this project is forthcoming in Environmental and Resource Economics.

Kasperski, S. 2014. “Optimal Multi-species Harvesting in Ecologically and Economically Interdependent Fisheries”. In press at Environmental and Resource Economics.

+ Optimal Multispecies Harvesting in the Presence of a Nuisance Species

Stephen Kasperski

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The need for ecosystem based fisheries management is well recognized, but substantial obstacles remain in implementing these approaches given our current understanding of the biological complexities of the ecosystem and the economic complexities surrounding resource use. This study develops a multispecies bioeconomic model that incorporates ecological and economic interactions to estimate the optimal catch and stock size for each species in the presence of a nuisance species. The nuisance species lowers the value of the fishery by negatively affecting the growth of the other species in the ecosystem, and has little harvest value of its own. This study empirically estimates multispecies surplus production growth functions for each species and uses these parameters to explore the impact of a nuisance species on the management of this ecosystem. Multiproduct cost functions are estimated for each gear type in addition to a count data model to predict the optimal number of trips each vessel takes. These functions are used, along with the estimated stock dynamics equations, to determine the optimal multispecies quotas and subsidy on the harvest of the nuisance species to maximize the total value of this three species fishery.

This study uses the arrowtooth flounder, Pacific cod, and walleye pollock fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region off Alaska as a case study and finds the net present value of the fishery is decreased from $20.7 billion to $8.5 billion dollars by ignoring arrowtooth’s role as a nuisance species on the growth of Pacific cod and walleye pollock. The optimal subsidy on the harvest of arrowtooth summed over all years is $35 million dollars, which increases the net present value by $273 million dollars, after accounting for the subsidy. As arrowtooth flounder is a low value species and has a large negative impact on the growth of cod and pollock, it is optimal to substantially increase the harvesting of arrowtooth, lowering its population which results in increased growth and harvesting in the two profitable fisheries. Ignoring the role of the nuisance species results in a substantially less productive and lower value fishery than if all three species are managed optimally. This study highlights the role of both biological and technological interactions in multispecies or ecosystem approaches for management, as well as the importance of incorporating the impacts non-harvested species can have on the optimal harvesting policies in an ecosystem. During 2014, a manuscript was completed and is currently under review at a scientific journal.

Regional Economic Modeling

+ Economic Base Analysis of the Alaska Seafood Industry with Linkages to International Markets: Application to the Alaska Head and Gut Fleet

Edward Waters, Chang Seung, Mike Dalton, and Brian Garber-Yonts

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The Alaska Head and Gut (H&G) fleet was rationalized recently. An economic assessment of rationalization of this fleet should consider the effects of global market conditions on benefits and costs since it relies on global markets as a primary source of revenue. This research seeks to quantify the economic contribution of this fleet. In 2006, an industry group commissioned a study that used input-output (IO) analysis to estimate the economic contribution of the H&G sector to a particular port (Dutch Harbor) and to the state of the Alaska. However, for the Alaska seafood industry, Seung and Waters (2005) recommend the use of a regional social-accounting-matrix (SAM) model over IO analysis. These models can be used to quantify the contribution of an industry to the regional economic base, or to evaluate impacts of year-to-year changes in prices and quantities (e.g., TACs) on regional employment and income. Regional economic models do not usually explicitly distinguish between domestic and foreign markets that are outside the regional economic zone. But that distinction can be important for analyzing the regional impacts of price changes that are driven by global market conditions.

Seung and Waters (2005) developed a regional SAM model to estimate the total contribution of commercial fishing to the economic base of Alaska. In addition to the regional economy, that model contained a single ‘rest of world’ (ROW) region and did not explicitly distinguish between US domestic and foreign markets. The model and methodology developed here were extended and refined for application to the Alaska H&G sector in two ways. First, it utilized an existing source of economic data for this sector, the Amendment 80 Non-AFA Trawl Gear Catcher Processor Economic Data Report (AM80 EDR) for 2009. Second, demand from the single ROW region in the Alaska regional SAM was disaggregated based on export values and quantities compiled from NMFS trade statistics (i.e., US Merchandise Trade Statistics) for select species and market categories.

This project was completed. Drs. Seung and Waters developed a multi-regional social accounting matrix (MRSAM) model and conducted simulations using the MRSAM to analyze the H&G sector’s contribution to the Alaska and West Coast regional economies and to estimate effects of selected demand-side and supply-side shocks to the H&G industry. Results from the simulations were documented in the final project report, and published in Marine Policy (Waters et al. 2014)

Seung, C., and E. Waters. 2005. “The role of the Alaska seafood industry: a social accounting matrix (SAM) model approach to economic base analysis.” The Annals of Regional Science 40 (2), 335-350.

Waters, E., C. Seung, M. Hartley, and M. Dalton. 2014. “Measuring the Multiregional Economic Contribution of an Alaska Fishing Fleet with Linkages to International Markets” Marine Policy 50, Part A: 238-248.

+ Collecting Borough and Census Area Level Data for Regional Economic Modeling of Alaska Fisheries

Chang Seung

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Most regional economic models developed for North Pacific fisheries are designed to depict either the whole state (i.e., Alaska) or an administrative region (e.g., the Southeast region). While these models are designed to calculate the impacts of fishery management actions on relatively large regions, they may not as accurately represent impacts on smaller, fishing-dependent areas such as boroughs, census areas or “fishing communities”. Therefore, results from these large models may be less useful for fishery managers, policy makers and other parties interested in illustrating impacts on specific communities, especially ones with very unique economic structures. No existing study has yet developed models designed to estimate impacts on individual fishing-dependent communities in Alaska. Under this project we will begin to collect and estimate the type of data needed to develop regional economic models at the borough and census area (BCA) level. The three regions of interest for characterizing Alaska communities economically dependent on fishery resources (i.e., the Southwest, Gulf Coast, and Southeast regions) contain a total of 20 BCAs. In this project, we begin this data collection and modeling effort by collecting data and assembling regional economic models for each of the seven BCAs comprising the Southwest region.

The information needed to develop BCA-level models includes (i) IMPLAN data; (ii) landings data by port or community; (iii) data on expenditures by harvesters and fish processors; and (iv) indicators of linkages among harvesters, processors and local input suppliers. IMPLAN provides the local-level regional economic data needed as the foundation for BCA-level models. However the fishery sector data in IMPLAN is generally not considered reliable. Therefore we will replace the fishery sector in IMPLAN with data from more reliable sources including data collected via surveys. For revenue totals we will use data on ex-vessel and first-wholesale values available from existing sources (CFEC, AKFIN). The data to be collected through surveys include expenditure and employment data for harvesting vessels and seafood processors in each BCA. There are three stages that we will follow to implement this project. In the first stage, we will conduct informal interviews with processors and local businesses. In the second stage, we will administer a mail-out survey of fish harvesting vessels. In the final stage, we will develop BCA-level regional economic models.

To obtain these data it is necessary to collect information from a sample using mailout or other survey instruments and to estimate the population parameters (e.g., total labor expenditures for harvesting and processing sectors) using statistical procedures. Economists are inclined to use simple random sampling (SRS) or stratified sampling methods. However if the distribution of activity within harvesting or processing sectors is very skewed or dominated by a small number of participants, an SRS would be likely to cover only a small portion of total activity and therefore be biased or misleading. Consequently to avoid bias in estimates of these population parameters, it is necessary to use an unequal probability sampling (UPS)[see Brewer and Hanif 1983, Rosén 1997, Seung 2010] in which the selection probability of each sampling unit is proportional to its relative output level (e.g., share of total fishery ex-vessel or ex-processor values). UPS methods will be used to (i) determine the sample size for fish harvesting and processing sector; and (ii) estimate population parameters of the variables of interest (e.g., employment, labor earnings, and cost of intermediate inputs such as fuel). In determining sample sizes, we will use ex-vessel revenues and ex-processor revenues as proxy indicators of economic activity. These values are available from existing data sources (CFEC, AKFIN). Since response rates from simple mailout surveys are likely to be very low, we will work with the community development quota (CDQ) groups, tribes, tribal councils and other groups in the region to help deliver and explain survey instruments to those selected by the sampling protocol and to facilitate data collection and follow up. Survey recipients will be given a list of percentage ranges they spend on different categories of inputs to review. Respondents will be asked to indicate how closely these percentages reflect their input expenditure patterns and whether the expenditures were made in the local economy or elsewhere. The percentages they will be shown will be based on data collected in previous studies that estimated regional economic information for the state of Alaska and the Southeast region (e.g., The Research Group 2007).

These data combined with the basic regional economic structure for each BCA from IMPLAN will be used to develop regional economic models such as social accounting matrix (SAM) and/or computable general equilibrium (CGE) models for each of the fishing-dependent BCAs in the Southwest region. The models will be able to calculate BCA-level impacts of fishery management issues. With information collected on the location of input purchases, we will also be able to estimate impacts transmitted to the remainder of Alaska and to West Coast states. The resulting models will provide more accurate and targeted measures of impacts for fishery managers, policy makers and other parties interested in understanding the effects of fishery policies and natural resource disasters on fishing dependent communities in Alaska.

The UPS sampling plan for this data collection has been recently developed based on Seung (2010). Jean Lee generated information on ex-vessel revenues for year 2012 of all vessels landing fish in Southwest region. A preliminary UPS sampling was conducted using the 2012 data. When 2013 ex-vessel revenue data are available, the UPS sampling for the 2013 data will be conducted. We hired three contractors who will conduct the informal interviews of processors and local businesses (Stage 1 above), and submit the federal register notice. The contactors developed a draft survey and interview worksheets which are now under revision. Once the revision is completed, we will pretest the survey instrument and the final version of the survey instrument will be prepared. Next, we will prepare and submit the Paperwork Reduction Act documents. Administering the key informant interviews (Stage 1), survey of fishing vessels (Stage 2), and developing regional economic models (Stage 3) will follow.

Brewer, K. and Hanif, M. 1983. Sampling with Unequal Probabilities. Springer Verlag, New York.

Rosén, B. 1997. “On Sampling with Probability Proportional to Size.” Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 62:159-191.

Seung, C. 2010. “Estimating economic information for fisheries using unequal probability sampling.” Fisheries Research 105(2): 134-140.

The Research Group. 2007. “Estimating Economic Impacts of Alaska Fisheries Using a Computable General Equilibrium Model – Data Acquisition and Reduction Task Documentation.” Prepared for Alaska Fisheries Science Center. Corvallis, Oregon.

+ Assessing Changes in Geographic Concentration of Fishing Activities

Chang Seung

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Fishing activities change due to regulatory, environmental, and economic factors. The changes in fishing activities may lead to changes in location of landings of different species, and have implications for the economies of the communities that receive the fish for processing and provide inputs to fishing activities. There are several indices that measure the geographical concentration/distribution of economic activities, including the location quotient (LQ), Gini index, Herfindahl–Hirschman (HH) index, and Ellison-Glaeser (EG) index. This project will use these indices and investigate how and why the geographic distribution and concentration of fish landings have changed over time for North Pacific fisheries. The changes in geographical concentration of fish landings will be measured using data on landings in weight and ex-vessel revenue. The results will show how regulatory and environmental changes have altered the geographic distribution of fish landing and processing, and provide some policy implications for how the seafood-dependent ports or communities will be impacted by these changes. Seung is currently refining the scope of the research, investigating data requirement and availability, and examining the econometric models for analysis.

+ Coupling Bioeconomic Model and Regional Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Model for Alaska Crab Fisheries

Michael Dalton, Andr’e Punt, and Chang Seung

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A comprehensive two-stock bioeconomic model for Bristol Bay red king crab (BBR) and Eastern Bering Sea Snow Crab (BSS) was developed with support from NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, and NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, caused primarily by fossil fuel emissions and deforestation, has led to corresponding increases in oceanic CO2 concentrations, and hence, changes in carbonate chemistry of the oceans and decreases in ocean pH. As CO2 levels continue to rise over the coming decades, the pH in the ocean will fall even further. This trend could have substantial physiological effects on marine organisms, affecting growth, survival, reproduction, and behavior. Calcifying organisms may be particularly affected because the reduction in pH makes it more difficult to excrete and sustain a calcified shell or exoskeleton.

Most of the management strategies developed for fish and invertebrate species in the U.S. and elsewhere are predicated on the assumption that the productivity of the resources remains constant over long time periods. This assumption is likely to be violated by the impact of ocean acidification. However, the impact of such violation is poorly understood generally, and for North Pacific crab fisheries in particular. The ideal tool to explore the biological and economic impacts of ocean acidification is a bio-economic modeling framework which a) integrates predictions regarding trends over time in ocean pH; b) separates life-history stages for growth and mortality of juveniles and adults; and c) includes fishery impacts by analyzing catch and effort in both biological and economic terms. In this model, a size-structured population dynamics model component for larger animals is coupled to a stage-structured model component for smaller animals that have not been recruited into the fishery (i.e., “pre-recruits”). Including an explicit pre-recruit component is unusual in population dynamics models, and it is used in the new king crab bio-economic model to represent the impacts of ocean acidification on pre-recruit life-history stages. These impacts are the subject of ongoing laboratory experiments with juvenile crabs, and data from these experiments will be used to parameterize the pre-recruit component of the new bio-economic model.

The crab bioeconomic model has been completed for BBR, and was coupled with a regional CGE model which was recently developed. The coupled model was used to calculate the impacts of the ocean acidification on the economy of the region depending on the fisheries, including the impacts on industry output, value added, and household income for the state of Alaska. CGE model outcomes from yield projections based on two alternative forms (linear versus nonlinear) of ocean acidification effects on the survival of juvenile BBR are compared to a baseline without ocean acidification effects. Results demonstrate considerable uncertainty in projections of yields, and show that economic impacts are sensitive to the form of ocean acidification effects, and to changes in the world price of BBR. The next step is to conduct similar study for BSS.

Socioeconomic, Cultural and Community Analyses

+ The Regional and Community Size Distribution of Fishing Revenues in the North Pacific

Chris Anderson, Jennifer Meredith, and Ron Felthoven

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The North Pacific fisheries generate close to $2 billion in first wholesale revenues annually. However, the analysis supporting management plans focuses on describing the flow of these monies through each fishery (e.g., NOAA AFSC 2013), rather than across the individual cities and states in which harvesters live and spend their fishing returns. In the last two decades North Pacific fisheries have undergone a series of management changes aimed at ensuring healthy and sustainable profits for those participating in harvesting and processing, and healthy fish stocks. The formation of effective cooperatives and rationalization programs that have been designed by harvesters and processors support an economically successful industry. However, a variety of narratives have emerged about the distributional effects of these management changes, and in particular their effects on the participation of people in coastal communities in the North Pacific.

Previous work has adopted a variety of perspectives to establish the effects of a changing fishing industry in the North Pacific. Carothers (2008) focuses on individual communities in the Aleutian islands and argues that shifts in the processing industry, away from small canneries in strongly place-identified communities, are exacerbated by rationalization that monetizes historical fishing access and draws fishing activity out of small communities when fishermen fall under duress. Carothers et al. (2010) adopts a state-wide perspective on a single fishery, and finds that small fishing communities as a category were more likely to divest of halibut IFQ in the years immediately following the creation of the program. Sethi et al. (2014) propose a suite of rapid assessment community-level indicators that integrate across fisheries, and identify that Alaskan communities are affected by trends of reduced fishery participation and dependence, characterized by fewer fishermen who participate in fewer fisheries and growth in other sectors of the economy during 1980-2010. However, they also observe that this effect is primarily distributional, as total fishing revenues within communities are stable and increasing.

This study contributes by providing a regional overview of the benefits from North Pacific fishing, looking beyond the changes in any particular community or any particular fishery. It seeks to describe the regions to which revenues from North Pacific fisheries are accruing, whether that distribution has changed significantly over the last decade, and how any changes might be caused or affected by management. This is important because managers or stakeholders may have preferences over the distribution of benefits within their jurisdiction, and while the movement of fishing activity out of communities is frequently the focus of academic and policy research, research focusing on single communities often does not follow where those benefits go. Of particular interest is whether movement of North Pacific fishery revenues is dominated by movement within coastal Alaska, or primarily shifts away from coastal communities to other regions outside of Alaska.

Carothers, C., D. Lew and J. Sepez. 2010. Fishing Rights and Small Communities: Alaska Halibut IFQ Transfer Patterns. Ocean & Coastal Management: 53:518-23.

Carothers, C. 2008. “Rationalized Out”: Discourses and Realities of Fisheries Privatization in Kodiak, Alaska. In Lowe, M. and C. Carothers, ed. Enclosing the Fisheries: People, Places, and Power.” American Fisheries Society, Symposium 69.

NOAA AFSC. 2014. “Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report for the Groundfish Fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Area: Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska 2012.” 379 pp.

Sethi, S., W. Riggs, G. Knapp. 2014. “Metrics to Monitor the Status of Fishing Communities: An Alaska State of the State Retrospective 1980-2010.” Ocean & Coastal Management: 88:21-30.

+ Gulf of Alaska Trawl Fishery Social Survey: Preliminary Results

Amber Himes-Cornell and Stephen Kasperski

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The North Pacific Fishery Management Council is considering the implementation of a new bycatch management program for the Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery. Any change in how the fishery is managed will likely affect the people and communities participating in the fishery. In anticipation of such changes, NOAA Fisheries' Alaska Fisheries Science Center developed a survey to collect baseline information about the social dimensions of the fishery. Data were collected before program implementation in order to provide a baseline description of the industry as well as allow for analysis of changes the bycatch management program may bring for individuals and communities once implemented. Having a detailed baseline description will allow for a greater understanding of the social impacts the program may have on the individuals and communities affected by the new management program. When combined with data to be collected in planned post-program implementation follow-up surveys, this information will inform changes in the social characteristics over time and assist in a more comprehensive program evaluation and more informed consideration of potential post-implementation modifications of the program, if needed. Additionally, the survey asked for opinions on a range of elements that may or may not be included in the final bycatch management program to assess different participant’s preferences for various management options, which may change over time as well.

Data were collected using a multiple methods approach in order to obtain the highest response rates possible and to make the survey available to a wide variety of respondent types. Fieldwork was completed in Kodiak, Sand Point, King Cove, Seattle, and Petersburg to administer as many of the surveys in person as possible. The survey was conducted with participants in the Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery, including vessel owners, vessel operators, crew aboard groundfish vessels, catcher/processor owners, catcher/processor crew, shoreside and inshore floating processors, tender owners and operators, and other individuals who are stakeholders in the trawl fishery including any businesses that are directly tied to the groundfish trawl industry through the supply of commercial items to include, but not limited to gear suppliers, fuel suppliers, and equipment suppliers. The results of the survey highlight the differences in the people, sectors, and communities engaged in the fishery. Data from the survey demonstrate how different individuals and sectors depend on the Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery to sustain their businesses and families and how they may be interconnected with one another. We presented preliminary results of the 2014 survey at the October North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) meeting. The full preliminary analysis report can be found on the NPFMC’s October 2014 agenda, item C-7.

+ Perceptions of Measures to Affect Active Participation, Lease Rates and Crew Compensation in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries

Keeley Kent and Amber Himes-Cornell

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In 2010, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council completed a 5-Year Review of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Rationalization program. The review highlighted a suite of unintended social issues that have emerged in the fishery as a result of the management program. The central issues perceived by the Council were the impact of high quota share lease rates on crew pay, difficulty for skippers and crew to purchase quota shares, and concerns about absentee quota ownership. The Council initiated discussion and analyses on these issues; however, they decided instead to encourage the crab fleet to address the issues through voluntary measures. The crab cooperatives developed measures to address the Council’s concerns, which were put in place in 2013. The measures include the Right of First Offer program that gives skippers and crew an initial opportunity to purchase quota shares and a voluntary lease rate cap for two of the crab fisheries.

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center developed a study to gather perspectives on the voluntary cooperative measures. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants in the fishery, including quota share holders, vessel owners, skippers, crew, cooperative representatives, Community Development Quota groups, and expert respondents involved in the financial and brokerage aspects of the fishery. Interview respondents were asked to speak to six main topic areas:

  1. Access to purchasing quota shares
  2. Experience with the Right of First Offer program
  3. Perspectives on quota share lease rate caps
  4. Crew compensation in the crab fisheries
  5. Access to financing for quota share purchases
  6. The future of the crab fisheries

Ownership records and contact information from the 2012-2013 season were requested through the Alaska Fisheries Information Network. Contact information was obtained for hired skippers and crew license holders from the crab fisheries’ yearly Economic Data Report (EDR). The Commercial Fishery Entry Commission (CFEC) issues gear operator permits and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) issues crew licenses, either of which are required to crew aboard a vessel. Vessel owners report the CFEC and ADF&G operator and license data through their annual EDRs and contact information for vessel owners, and quota share holders was sourced from the NMFS Alaska Regional Office (AKRO).

Participants were contacted via phone, mail, and/or email. Between February 2014 and September 2014 a total of 220 industry participants were interviewed. This included 43% of all quota share holders, 71% of vessel owners, 47% of skippers, and 13% of crewmembers in the fleet. The interviews will be coded using inductive coding methodology and an analysis of code frequency will be completed to determine perspectives on these issues by respondent type. A preliminary report is expected to be released in spring 2015.

+ Updating the North Pacific Fishing Community Profiles

Amber Himes-Cornell

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Various federal statutes, including the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, among others, require agencies to examine the social and economic impacts of policies and regulations. To meet this requirement, over the past year and a half, social scientists in AFSC’s Economic and Social Sciences Research Program have been working on revisions to the Community Profiles for North Pacific Fisheries – Alaska. The updated profiles provide significant detail on 195 fishing communities in Alaska with information on social, economic and fisheries characteristics. These profiles serve as a consolidated source of baseline information for assessing community impacts in Alaska.

The community profiles include, but are not limited to, information on demographics, annual population fluctuation, fisheries-related infrastructure, community finances, natural resources, educational opportunities, fisheries revenue, shore-based processing plant narratives, landings and permits by species, and subsistence and recreational fishing participation. The profiles also include information collected from communities in the Alaska Community Survey, a questionnaire designed to collect information from communities about their specific infrastructure available, revenue sources, their needs and concerns related to their dependence on fishing, and other characteristics not available in other databases. In addition to individual community profiles, 11 regional profiles were compiled and written using data aggregated at the regional level.

ESSRP staff also worked with AFSC GIS specialists to develop an interactive website where the user can view high level commercial, recreational and subsistence data through a web mapping tool. The user is also able to download each community’s provide and non-confidential data associated with it. The final versions of the regional profiles and community profiles, and access to the interactive webmaps, are available on the AFSC website.

+ Developing Comparable Socio-economic Indices of Fishing Community Vulnerability and Resilience for the Contiguous US and Alaska

Amber Himes-Cornell, Conor Maguire and Stephen Kasperski

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The ability to understand the vulnerability of fishing communities is critical to understanding how regulatory change will be absorbed into multifaceted communities that exist within a larger coastal economy. Creating social indices of vulnerability for fishing communities provides a pragmatic approach toward standardizing data and analysis to assess some of the long term effects of management actions. Over the past three years, social scientists working in NOAA Fisheries’ Regional Offices and Science Centers have been engaged in the development of indices for evaluating aspects of fishing community vulnerability and resilience to be used in the assessment of the social impacts of proposed fishery management plans and actions (Colburn and Jepson, 2012; Himes-Cornell and Kasperski, 2015). These indices are standardized across geographies, and quantify conditions which contribute to, or detract from, the ability of a community to react positively towards change.

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) has developed indices for over 300 communities in Alaska. We compiled socio-economic and fisheries data from a number of sources to conduct an analysis using the same methodology used by Colburn and Jepson (2012) and Jepson and Colburn (2013). To the extent feasible, the same sources of data are being used in order to allow comparability between regions. However, comparisons indicated that resource, structural and infrastructural differences between the NE and SE and Alaska require modifications of each of the indices to make them strictly comparable. The analysis used for Alaska was modified to reflect these changes. The data are being analyzed using principal components analysis (PCA), which allows us to separate out the most important socio-economic and fisheries related factors associated with community vulnerability and resilience in Alaska within a statistical framework.

These indices are intended to improve the analytical rigor of fisheries Social Impact Assessments, through adherence to National Standard 8 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act, and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice in components of Environmental Impact Statements. Given the often short time frame in which such analyses are conducted, an advantage to the approach taken to date by the Principal Investigators is that the majority of the data used to construct these indices are readily accessible secondary data and can be compiled quickly to create measures of social vulnerability and to update community profiles.

Although the indices are useful in providing an inexpensive, quick, and reliable way of assessing potential vulnerabilities, they often lack external reliability. Establishing validity on a community level is required to ensure indices are grounded in reality and not merely products of the data used to create them. However, achieving this requires an unrealistic amount of ethnographic fieldwork once time and budget constraints are considered. To address this, a rapid and streamlined groundtruthing methodology was developed to confirm external validity from a set of 13 sample communities selected based on shared characteristics and logistic feasibility. The goal of this research methodology is to confirm external validity of the well-being indices through measuring how well quantitative index constructs overlap with qualitative constructs developed from ethnographic fieldwork. Several inter-rater agreement tests, including a Cohen’s Kappa and Spearman’s rho, were used in assessing construct overlap by measuring how well ethnographic data is in agreement with the indices.

A K-means cluster analysis was used in determining community groupings based on similarities in the secondary data used in creating the indices. Once communities were grouped, 13 sample communities were selected based on the cluster characteristics, and logistical constraints. An iterative, mixed-methods grounded approach was used in developing protocols for ethnographic fieldwork. Key-informant categories were identified based on the index-derived constructs, and interview protocols were developed to target specific themes thought relevant to those constructs. Interviews were open-ended to allow for emergent constructs to present themselves during the interview process. Finally, to supplement interview data physical field assessments of community character, environment, and condition were conducted by researchers.

Once fieldwork was complete, summaries were drawn from researcher experiences and their interview interpretations, which will be used to create a qualitative ranking system. The next step for the groundtruthing exercise is to compare the qualitative fieldwork data to the quantitative indices. As a first step, a rapid assessment will be done in fall 2014. For each quantitative component, a ranking of “high”, “medium”, or “low” will be given according to the score created from the PCA. Members of the research team then will provide subjective rankings for each component based on ethnographic data, and the two ranking schemes will be tested for inter-rater agreement. Cohen’s Kappa will be used to test for perfect matches of rankings, which is the more conservative of two tests. The second test, Spearman’s rho, will provide a coefficient of “agreement”, and will not omit instances where there was not a perfect match. Together, these tests will provide a well-rounded picture of agreement between the qualitative and quantitative sets of ranks, and thus a general assessment of construct overlap. Reports documenting this phase of the project will be released in 2015.

Groundtruthing the results will facilitate use of the indices by the AFSC, NOAA’s Alaska Regional Office, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council staff to analyze the comparative vulnerability of fishing communities across Alaska to proposed fisheries management regulations, in accordance with NS8. This research will provide policymakers with an objective and data driven approach to support effective management of North Pacific fisheries.

Colburn, L.L. and M. Jepson. 2012. “Social Indicators of Gentrification Pressure in Fishing Communities: A Context for Social Impact Assessment.” Coastal Management 40:289-300.

Himes-Cornell, A., and S. Kasperski. 2015. "Assessing climate change vulnerability in Alaska's fishing communities." Fisheries Research 162: 1-11.

Jepson, M. and L.L. Colburn. 2013. “Development of Social Indicators of Fishing Community Vulnerability and Resilience in the U.S. Southeast and Northeast Regions.” NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-129, April 2013.

+ Using Indicators to Assess the Vulnerability and Resiliency of Alaskan Communities to Climate Change

Amber Himes-Cornell and Stephen Kasperski

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Communities in Alaska are experiencing impacts of climate-related changes and unprecedented environmental conditions on the harvests of marine and terrestrial resources. Residents of rural Alaska are already reporting heretofore unseen changes in the geographic distribution and abundance of fish and marine mammals, increases in the frequency and ferocity of storm surges in the Bering Sea, changes in the distribution and thickness of sea ice, and increases in river and coastal erosion. When combined with ongoing social and economic change, climate, weather, and changes in the biophysical system interact in a complex web of feedbacks and interactions that make life in rural Alaska extremely challenging.

We develop a framework of indicators to assess three basic forms of community vulnerability to climate change: exposure to the bio-physical effects of climate change, dependence on resources that will be affected by climate change, and a community’s adaptive capacity to offset negative impacts of climate change. We conduct a principal components analysis on each of the three forms of vulnerability, and then combine all three forms of vulnerability together to determine each community’s overall vulnerability to climate change. The principal components analysis, which is a variable reduction strategy, allows us to separate the most important factors determining the vulnerability of each community to each type of risk factor in a robust and consistent statistical framework. For the 392 communities in Alaska with data, the 105 variables included in the principal components analysis break down into 21 different principal components which explain a total of 78.4% of the variation across all variables. The components with the most explanatory power include poverty and demographics, subsistence halibut and commercial participation, latitude of catch, sportfishing, and employment diversification.

The framework developed here can also be applied more generally through indicators that assess community vulnerability and resiliency to sea level rise, drought, storm intensity, and other likely impacts of climate change. These indicators can help inform how best to allocate resources for climate change adaptation.

A manuscript summarizing this research has been published in Fisheries Research (Himes-Cornell and Kasperski 2015).

Himes-Cornell, A., and S. Kasperski. 2015. "Assessing climate change vulnerability in Alaska's fishing communities." Fisheries Research 162: 1-11.

Catch Shares Programs and Quota Markets

+ What Lessons Do Non-Fisheries Tradable Permit Programs Have for the Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan?

Dan Lew and Isabel Call

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To address long-standing allocation conflicts between the Pacific halibut commercial fishing sector and recreational charter (for-hire) sector in Alaska, an Alaska halibut catch sharing plan (CSP) was implemented in 2014 that has a provision allowing the leasing of commercial individual fishing quota to recreational charter businesses. This one-way inter-sectoral trading allows for the charter sector to increase its share of the total allowable catch while compensating commercial fishermen. In this work, we examine the literature on non-fisheries tradable permit programs (TPPs) that have similarities to the Alaska halibut CSP program. Several successful TPPs are discussed, including ones from emissions trading programs, water quality trading programs, water markets, and transferable development rights programs. They are then evaluated in terms of their similarities and differences to the Alaska CSP program. Characteristics not part of the current CSP that other TPPs have used and that may increase the likelihood for the CSP to be effective in achieving its primary goals (if they are implemented) are identified, such as allowing more flexible transfers (e.g., internal transfers), intertemporal banking, cooperative structures, and multi-year leasing. The paper is forthcoming in Marine Policy.

Call, I., and D.K. Lew. 2014. “Tradable permit programs: What are the lessons for the new Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan?” Forthcoming in Marine Policy.

+ Understanding Charter Halibut Permit Holders’ Preferences, Attitudes, and Behavior Under the Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan

Dan Lew

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The Alaska charter boat sector has undergone significant change in recent years due, at least in part, to regulatory changes in the management of the Pacific halibut sport fishery. To control growth of the charter sector in the primary recreational charter boat fishing areas off Alaska, a limited entry program was implemented in 2011 (75 Federal Register 554). In addition, in the past several years, charter vessel operators in Southeast Alaska (International Pacific Halibut Commission [IPHC] Area 2C) and Southcentral Alaska (Area 3A) have been subject to harvest controls that impose both size and bag limits on the catch of Pacific halibut on guided fishing trips, with these limits being more restrictive than the regulations for non-guided trips (e.g., 78 Federal Register 16425). Most recently, a Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) was implemented during 2014 that formalizes the process (a) of allocating catch between the commercial and charter sector and (b) for evaluating changes to harvest restrictions (78 FR 75843). Importantly, the CSP allows leasing of commercial halibut individual fishing quota (IFQ) by eligible charter businesses. Leased halibut IFQ (called guided angler fish, or GAF) could then be used by charter businesses to relax harvest restrictions for their angler clients, since GAF fish would not be subject to the charter sector-specific size and bag limits that may be imposed—though the non-charter sector size and bag limit restrictions (currently two fish of any size per day) would still apply to charter anglers individually.

Under the initial rules for the IFQ leasing program, henceforth the GAF leasing program, several restrictions are placed on the use of GAF, including the following:

  1. Single-season use. GAF must be used before the end of the season for which it is leased, with automatic returns if the GAF is unused by a certain date (15 days before the end of the commercial fishing season).
  2. No transfers. GAF can’t be transferred between CHP holders during the season.

The restrictions listed above are features that are sometimes relaxed in other IFQ (or, more generally, tradable permit) programs to increase flexibility for participants. Recent research has shown that the restrictions imposed on transfers within IFQ markets can have significant effects on economic efficiency and other goals (e.g., Kroetz et al. 2014).

To inform decision makers about the likely impacts of relaxing program features such as those above, as well as other programs that may be considered by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), AFSC has developed a survey that will collect data from eligible participants in the IFQ leasing market to determine their attitudes towards, and behavior in, the lease market and attitudes and preferences towards alternative programs. The survey was developed during 2013 and 2014 with input from staff from the Council, NMFS Alaska Region, and ADF&G, and was qualitatively pretested with members from the target population (Alaska charter halibut permit holders). The survey is currently being reviewed by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Assuming a timely approval, it will be implemented in early 2015.

Kroetz, K., J.N. Sanchirico, and D.K. Lew (2014). “Efficiency Costs of Social Objectives in Tradable Permit Programs.” Working paper.

+ U.S. Catch Share Markets: A Review of Characteristics and Data Availability

Daniel Holland, Eric Thunberg, Juan Agar, Scott Crosson, Chad Demarest, Stephen Kasperski, Larry Perruso, Erin Steiner, Jessica Stephen, Andy Strelcheck, and Mike Travis

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A growing number of U.S. fisheries are managed with catch share systems, which allocate exclusive shares of the total allowable catch from a fish stock to individuals, cooperatives, communities, or other entities. All of these catch share programs allow transferability of catch privileges in some form. Information on these transfers, particularly prices, can be valuable to fishery managers and to fishery participants and other stakeholders. We document the availability and quality of data on transfers of catch privileges in fourteen U.S. catch share programs, including programs in every U.S. region except the Pacific Islands. The catch share programs reviewed include several individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs as well as a number of programs that allocate catch privileges to self-organized cooperatives. We provide a short synopsis of each catch share program and quota market including a short description of the fishery, the management system, and the rules for transferring quota share(QS) and quota pounds (QP). Each synopsis also includes a description of the information collected on QS and QP transfers and an evaluation of the availability and quality of QS and QP price information and other useful information that can be derived from transfer data. We do not attempt to evaluate the efficiency of any of the catch share markets, nor provide in-depth analysis of market data, but we do provide some evaluation of the potential to use catch share market data to provide useful information to stakeholders and managers. We make recommendations on how to improve the design of catch share systems and associated data collection systems to facilitate effective catch share markets, collection of catch share market data, and better use of information from catch share markets.

A manuscript describing this project has been published as a NOAA Tech Memo (Holland et al. 2014).

Holland, D., E. Thunberg, J. Agar, S. Crosson, C. Demarest, S. Kasperski, L. Perruso, E. Steiner, J. Stephen, A. Strelcheck, and M. Travis. 2014. U.S. Catch Share Markets: A Review of Characteristics and Data Availability. U.S. Dept. of Commer., NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-145, 67 p.

+ Productivity Change in U.S. Catch Share Fisheries

John Walden, Juan Agar, Ron Felthoven, Abigail Harley, Stephen Kasperski, Jean Lee, Todd Lee, Aaron Mamula, Jessica Stephen, Andy Strelcheck, and Eric Thunberg

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In fisheries, productivity refers to the relationship between the quantity of fish produced and the quantity of inputs used to harvest fish. We are concerned with “multi-factor” productivity since fish are caught using multiple inputs such as capital (e.g. fishing vessels), crew, fuel, ice, bait, etc. A change in multi-factor productivity (MFP) measures changes in outputs and inputs between two time periods. MFP may improve either by harvesting more fish with the same amount of inputs or by harvesting the same amount of fish using fewer inputs. By ending the “race to fish” catch share programs may be expected to lead to improved productivity through the ability to better plan harvesting activities to change the mix of outputs and/or make better use of capital and other inputs. Productivity gains may also be obtained through the transfer of quota from less to more efficient vessels.

Annual MFP was estimated for a total of 20 catch share programs or sub-components of catch share programs using the Lowe index. Of the 20 programs, 13 included pre-catch share baseline conditions. In 10 of 13 cases, MFP improved during the first three years after program implementation. These productivity gains were maintained in all six catch share programs that have been in existence since at least 2007, and MFP continued to substantially improve in five of six longer-term programs after the first three years of program implementation.

Ideally MFP would be estimated using full information on inputs including capital, labor, energy, materials, and services. In 11 of the 20 fisheries evaluated in this report available data were limited to capital and labor. Analysis of the 9 programs that included energy and the 5 programs that also included materials found that energy made a larger contribution to estimated MFP as compared to capital and labor alone or to specifications including only capital, labor, and materials. This suggests that new data collection or new methods to estimate fuel use may be a priority in improving estimation of MFP in future studies.

The biomass index plays an important role in characterizing changes in MFP in catch share programs, as biomass changes may affect the catchability of fish and thus harvesting productivity. However, obtaining biomass data was a time consuming process, and in some cases, required a stock-by-stock evaluation of the reliability of the biomass information that was available. In most instances, biomass adjusted and biomass unadjusted measures of MFP were consistent in terms of productivity change relative to baseline conditions although, unadjusted MFP underestimates productivity change when biomass is declining and overestimates productivity change when biomass is increasing. The magnitude of the difference between unadjusted and adjusted MFP increases with the magnitude of the biomass trend. If the biomass trend is sufficiently large, then biomass unadjusted MFP may provide a false impression of change in MFP. This means that obtaining reliable biomass data will be important in any future updates to MFP in catch share fisheries conducted by NMFS.

A manuscript describing this project will soon be published as a NOAA Tech Memo.

Walden, J., J. Agar, R. Felthoven, A. Harley, S. Kasperski, J. Lee, T. Lee, A. Mamula, J. Stephen, A. Strelcheck, and E. Thunberg. 2014. Productivity Change in U.S. Catch Shares Fisheries. U.S. Dept. of Commer., NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-XXX, XXX p. (Forthcoming)

+ Production Efficiency and Exit in Catch Share Fisheries

Ron Felthoven and Kurt Schnier

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Economic theory predicts that the least efficient vessels are more likely to exit a fishery following the transition from an open-access fishery to an individual transferable quota (ITQ) management regime. Tools are needed to help analysts predict the likely degree and distribution of consolidation prior to implementing ITQ programs. Previous research analyzing efficiency in ITQ fisheries has either relied upon data before and after the program was implemented and/or used a two-step procedure to model vessel efficiency, wherein the decision to be active following the transition is assumed to be independent from one’s prior production practices. This research utilizes a one-stage estimation procedure to determine the degree to which one’s technical inefficiency preceding an ITQ regime influences the likelihood of them exiting after the transition, which can be used for ex-ante predictions regarding the changes in composition after a transition to ITQs. Using pre-ITQ data on fishermen participating in the North Pacific crab fisheries, our results indicate that a vessel’s measure of technical inefficiency is a significant and positive factor in explaining whether it exits the fishery following the implementation of ITQs. This paper was published in Land Economics in 2013; volume 89(3): 538-557.

+ Cooperative Formation and Peer Effects in Fisheries

Ron Felthoven and Kurt Schnier

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The economic benefits that arise following the transition to a rights-based fishery management regime accrue on both the extensive and intensive margins. This research explores the changes in fleet composition, economic performance, and coordination that occurred following the introduction of the Bering Sea Crab Rationalization Program. On the extensive margin, we estimate the relative efficiency of vessels within each fishing cooperative to look for potential arbitrage opportunities when selecting which vessels will fish the cooperative’s quota allocation. On the intensive margin, we investigate the role of peer effects in facilitating the flow of information within the cooperative. The results support two hypotheses within the red king and snow crab fisheries: (1) the cooperatives which formed appear to have exploited the intracooperative efficiency arbitrage opportunities, and (2) an increase in landings by a fellow cooperative member tends to increase one’s own landings, a positive peer effect. This paper was published in Marine Resource Economics, Vol. 29, No. 2 (June 2014), pp. 133-156.

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