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Economic Data Collection Programs

A cooperative agreement and five contracts were initiated that will improve the data and information available to conduct economic and other social science analyses of fisheries issues. The Crab Rationalization Program proposed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) includes some novel (and potentially controversial) components. Therefore, in order to ensure that the effects of the program can be clearly discerned, the Council has developed a comprehensive and mandatory data collection program. The data program will collect revenue, employment, variable cost data, as well as any fixed cost data necessary to analyze variable costs. A third party will collect the data and provide it to analysts in a blind format to ensure confidentiality. Under the cooperative agreement, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) will be the third party entity.

The five projects associated with the contracts will do the following:

  • Canvas four different sets of existing records to gather and compile information on North Pacific commercial fishermen demographics.
  • Improve regional economic impact models, in part, by making better use of data provided by mandatory reporting programs for harvesting and processing operations.
  • Increase our ability to assess the economic effects of rationalizing the BSAI pollock fishery under the American Fisheries Act (AFA).
  • Identify and initiate economic research projects or programs to address essential fishing habitat (EFH) issues.
  • Expand efforts to encourage the use of electronic logbooks in the groundfish fishery and improve the economic data provided by the electronic logbooks.

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved our request for permission to ask vessel operators using the electronic logbooks to submit the frequent time and location data that are collected automatically by the electronic logbook program. This data can be used to address a variety of biological and economic issues.

Groundfish SAFE

“Economic status of the groundfish fisheries off Alaska, 2002" was completed for the Economic Appendix to the Draft SAFE reports for the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. The report provides estimates of total groundfish catch, groundfish discards and discard rates, prohibited species bycatch and bycatch rates, the ex-vessel value of the groundfish catch, the ex-vessel value of the catch in other Alaska fisheries, the gross product value (F.O.B. Alaska) of the resulting groundfish seafood products, the number and sizes of vessels that participated in the Alaska groundfish fisheries, vessel activity, and employment on at-sea processors. In addition, this report contains data on some of the external factors which, in part, determine the economic status of the fisheries. Such factors include foreign exchange rates, the prices and price indexes of products that compete with products from these fisheries, cold storage holdings, domestic per capita consumption of seafood products, and fishery imports. For the first time, the report contains some regional economic information. The estimates in this report are intended both to provide information that can be used to describe the Alaska groundfish fisheries and to provide industry and others an opportunity to comment on the validity of these estimates. The final version of this report will also include a summary of recent estimates of capacity, capacity utilization, and fishery utilization for the vessels that participated in federally managed commercial fisheries off Alaska in 2002.

The domestic groundfish fishery off Alaska is an important segment of the U.S. fishing industry. With a total catch of 2.1 million metric tons (t), a retained catch of 2.0 million t, and an ex-vessel value of $566 million in 2002, it accounted for 49% of the weight and 18% of the ex-vessel value of total U.S. domestic landings as reported in Fisheries of the United States, 2002. The value of the 2002 catch after primary processing was approximately $1.5 billion (F.O.B. Alaska). The groundfish fisheries accounted for the largest share (58%) of the ex-vessel value of all commercial fisheries off Alaska in 2002, while the shellfish fishery, with an ex-vessel value of $149 million, displaced salmon for the second largest share (15%) of the total Alaska ex-vessel value. The value of the Pacific salmon catch amounted to $130 million or 13% of the total for Alaska.

Program staff also contributed to the preparation of the Ecosystem Chapter of the draft SAFE reports.

Steller Sea Lion Research

Nonmarket valuation research concerning Steller sea lion protection will use state-of-the-art survey, sampling, and econometric techniques to measure attitudes that U.S. residents have toward providing protection to the western population of Steller sea lions, which is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Because different management options are available to protect this endangered species but have varying impacts on local economies, fisheries, and sea lion populations in Alaska, it is important to understand the public’s attitudes toward the protection measures and their associated impacts. This information is currently not available, yet is crucial to ensure the efficient management of Alaskan fisheries and protection of Steller sea lions.

National Bycatch Strategy

Center, Regional Office, and Council staff have assisted in implementing the National Strategy for Bycatch that was developed earlier this year. They assisted in completing the National Working Group on Bycatch report “Evaluating Bycatch: A National Approach to Standardized Bycatch Monitoring Programs” and in reviewing that report. In addition, they completed a report titled, “Bycatch preliminary assessment report for the Alaska Region” and a draft bycatch implementation plan for Alaska. Currently, the final plan is due in November.


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