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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 2013
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Each year the Economics & Social Sciences Research Program documents and evaluates the economic status of the North Pacific groundfish fisheries. The results of this analysis are compiled into an economic chapter of the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation (SAFE) Report. The Economic SAFE gives managers and stakeholders recent estimates of economic variables characterizing the fisheries. As the needs of management and stakeholders evolve, so should the Economic SAFE evolve to meet these changing demands. 
The 2013 Economic SAFE provides an annual update to the overview, economic data tables, economic indices, and market profiles. The economic data tables report ex-vessel and wholesale value; production and price; discards and prohibited species catch; and 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 that also provide longer time series of the data when available. Economic indices that evaluate the economic performance through value, price, and quantity, across species, product, and gear types are also presented. Market profiles discuss the markets for selects products of pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, and yellowfin sole and display trends observed in prices, volume, supply, and demand. Finally, new and ongoing research and data collection programs by AFSC social scientists are summarized, and recent scientific publications are listed.

In addition to these annual updates three new sections have been added to the Economic SAFE report that analyze catch share programs, community participation, and the Amendment 80 fleet. Furthermore, an appendix includes some new alternative economic data tables. The following summarizes these additions.

Economic Performance Metrics for North Pacific Groundfish Catch Share Programs: Six of the 15 catch-share programs currently in operation throughout the United States operate in the North Pacific, accounting for approximately 75% of groundfish landings. These programs are the Western Alaska Community Development Quota, Alaska Halibut and Sablefish IFQ, American Fisheries Act Pollock Cooperatives, BSAI Crab Rationalization, Non-Pollock Trawl Catcher/Processor Groundfish Cooperatives, and the Central Gulf of Alaska Rockfish Program. This section presents a set of indicators to assess the economic performance of these programs. The catch and landings metrics are the ACL (annual catch limit) or quota level, whether the ACL or quota was exceeded, aggregate landings, the percent of the quota that was utilized, and whether there is a share cap in place. The effort metrics are the number of active vessels, the number of entities holding share, and the season length. The revenue metrics are the aggregate revenue from catch share species, average prices of catch share species, the revenue per active vessel, and the Gini coefficient.

Community Participation in North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries:The breadth of Alaskan communities involved in fishing is significant and is indicative of importance of fishery-related activity to the overall economy and social organization of Alaska. In addition to aggregate information on community demographics, this section discusses the revenues communities have received from fish taxes; how communities relate the development of commercial fishing industry; fish landings and processing within communities; and labor participation in the commercial fishing industry.

BSAI Non-pollock Trawl Catcher-Processor Groundfish Cooperatives (Amendment 80) Program: Summary of Economic Status of the Fishery: This section summarizes the economic data collected in association with the rationalization program for the fleet defined under Amendment 80 of the Fishery Management Plan over the 5-year period following its implementation in 2008. In general, the data reported include: changes in the physical characteristics of the fleet, including productive capacity (freezer and processing line capacity and maximum potential throughput); fuel consumption rates; efficiency and diversification of processing output; investment in vessel capital improvements; operational costs incurred for fishing and processing; employment and compensation of vessel crews and processing employees.

Additional Economic Data Tables: Alternative methods are used to present data for two sets of tables. The first set of tables present ex-vessel prices and value utilizing prices derived from Alaska Department of Fish and Game fish tickets priced by the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission.  This provides an alternative source of ex-vessel prices to the Commercial Operator Annual Report purchasing data that has historically been used to assemble ex-vessel prices and value. The second set of tables present data on fishing vessels that are clearly not small entities and fishing vessels that may be small entities with entity size determined accounting for vessels’ affiliation with a group (e.g. cooperative). These tables provide an alternative tabulation of vessel counts and average revenues compared to what has been used to assemble data on small and large vessels, where small entity status is determined without regard to affiliation. While the alternative methods for both sets of tables may represent an improvement, these changes are still being researched and are therefore included as an appendix.

The Economic SAFE will continue to evolve to meet the needs of management and stakeholders.  We plan to improve the structure and format of the document to make the information and data contained within the report more accessible. 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 report can contribute to our efforts to improve the Economic SAFE by completing the online survey or by contacting

By By Ben Fissel


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