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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Advances in the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation Economic Status Report

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Oct-Nov-Dec 2012
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Each year the Economic and Social Sciences Research (ESSR) program documents and reports the economic status of the North Pacific Groundfish and Crab fisheries. The results of this analysis are compiled into an economic chapter of the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation Report.  The Economic SAFE reports and evaluates the economic status of the fisheries for managers and stakeholders by providing recent estimates of economic variables in the fisheries.  These data are compiled and distributed not only to inform management decisions but to provide stakeholders and the public access to data on North Pacific fisheries. As the needs of management and stakeholders evolve, so should the Economic SAFE evolve to meet these changing demands.  Here we  update the ESSR program’s progress planned for the Economic SAFE and described in last year’s report.

The 2012 Economic SAFE was transitioned into a new document production routine that improves accessibility of the content and simplifies the future production of the report.  Information is presented using modern formatting standards making the document more readable, cleaner and more navigable.  In addition, compilation of the Economic SAFE has been automated making the production of the report and its data more efficient.  Scripts used to extract the raw collected data and calculate the data reported have been rewritten and migrated to the native database and are more easily accessible by researchers.  These tasks have improved transparency of the process from data to document and made production of the report more efficient.

This year’s Economic SAFE reports the economic data of wholesale and ex-vessel value, production and price; discards and prohibited species catch; and changes in the composition of the fleet.   The data are printed in tables that stratify the data along different dimensions.  In addition, data are available as excel files on the Socioeconomics web page which also provide longer time series of the data when available.  Following up on last year, economic indices are presented that evaluate the economic performance through value, price, and quantity, across species, product and gear types. These are plotted to allow for a concise visual display of relative performance, and economic trends are discussed. Another component of this report is a set of market profiles for pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, and flatfish (yellowfin and rock sole, and arrowtooth flounder). The goal of these profiles is to discuss and, where possible, explain the market trends observed in pricing, volume, and supply and demand for each of these groundfish species.  Finally, new and ongoing research and data collection programs by AFSC social scientists are summarized and recent scientific publications are listed.

The Economic SAFE report will continue to evolve to meet the needs of management, stakeholders, and others who use the information it contains.  We will continue to improve the structure and format of the document to make the information and data more accessible.  We will continue to expand the Economic SAFE by including analyses which evaluate the status of the fishery by including reports on Alaska communities’ catch share program.  Furthermore, we will continue our outreach efforts by attempting to engage users of the Economic SAFE so that we can improve future reports. Readers of this quarterly report can contribute to our efforts to improve the Economic SAFE by completing the online survey accompanying the Groundfish SAFE Economic Status Report, by attending the feedback session at the NPFMC meeting in Seattle, February 2013, or by contacting us at

By Ben Fissel

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