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Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division

Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Regional Economic Data Collection Project for Southwest Alaska Region

Published regional economic data for Alaska fisheries are highly aggregated and do not provide detailed and reliable information needed for regional economic analysis of Alaska fisheries. The IMPLAN data set (a commercially available set of data for conducting regional economic analyses) is the major data set that regional economists use for regional economic analyses of fisheries. Using the unrevised default IMPLAN data, however, could generate several problems for analyses of fishery industries in Alaska. Therefore, there is an ongoing need to improve the regional economic models by collecting primary data (including comprehensive community surveys focusing on communities of interest) and revising published data such as that contained within IMPLAN for Alaska fishing communities.

Researchers at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) have now started to collect and maintain the necessary disaggregated and reliable regional economic data for all boroughs and census areas in the Southwest Alaska region. Project researchers are conducting surveys, using existing state government data (including published and confidential data), or estimating the data based on other primary and secondary data or other best information available, including comprehensive community surveys for communities of interest. The goal of this project is to undertake these tasks in order to improve our ability to conduct the requisite regional economic analyses, such as those required under the Magnuson Stevens Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

By Chang Seung

Nonresident Employment and Earnings Estimation Project

Information on nonresident workers and their earnings is important in developing a regional economic model for Alaska fisheries. If regional economic impacts from fisheries are calculated based on the assumption that all the workers are residents of a study region in Alaska, the regional impacts will be overestimated. Therefore, it is important to distinguish between resident and nonresident workers in seafood industries. However, published regional economic data do not provide reliable information on the nonresident employment and income. By matching the worker’s social security number on the wage file from Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DOLWD) with the social security number on the permanent fund dividend file from Alaska Department of Revenue, the DOLWD Research and Analysis Section will estimate the number of workers who come from the local area, other Alaska regions, and the rest of the United States, respectively, and their earnings, for all industries including seafood processing industry in all boroughs and census areas in Alaska. The results from this project will be used to revise the residency information in the default IMPLAN fishery data.

By Chang Seung

Economic Impacts of the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area

Alan Haynie completed his dissertation which develops a new method for predicting the economic impact of a fishery closure such as the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area. Not only does the model of fisher behavior improve our ability to predict the spatial redistribution of fishing effort in response to closing various parts of the Bering Sea pollock fishery for Steller sea lion preservation, but it also allows us, for the first time, to generate estimates of the costs to the fleet of having to fish outside of the closed areas. The model will serve as a useful tool in many other spatially delineated management issues (such as those aimed at other types of conservation) and doesn’t required an extensive cost/earnings data set, and thus represents a practical and valuable contribution for predicting future the economic impacts of future closures. Alan has presented his work to a range of audiences, and scientists from various disciplines have shown interest and excitement regarding the development and application of this model. As well as allowing better predictions of the economic impacts of protected areas, this type of model can be used to assess the relative burden of potential closures on different communities or fisheries.

By Alan Haynie

Emigration in Remote Alaskan Communities

Jennifer Sepez and Dan Lew are working with UW Anthropology Ph.D. student Courtney Carothers on a project to investigate the out-migration of halibut and sablefish fishing quota holdings from small, remote fishing communities (SRFCs) in Alaska. To mitigate the effects of this trend, the NPFMC has instituted a program that allows SRFCs in the Gulf of Alaska to purchase quotas and lease them to local fishermen. But the underlying causes of quota out-migration have not been systematically investigated. The first phase of the project is under way and involves analyzing trends in recorded quota share transfers for patterns consistent with the hypothesis that quota is in fact migrating out from SRFCs at a faster rate than from non-SRFCs. The preliminary analysis verifies that trend, and the investigation will now begin looking at the factors that contribute to quota leaving these communities.

By Jennifer Sepez

Halibut Sport Fishing Survey

Dan Lew is working with Professor Doug Larson (University of California, Davis) on a project to measure the demand for halibut sport fishing in Alaska and to understand the factors affecting participation in the fishery. A survey has been in development for several months, and focus groups with Alaska anglers are being convened and will continue through summer and fall 2005. A formal pretest and the final survey are expected to be implemented in 2006 upon approval by the Office of Management and Budget.

By Dan Lew


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