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Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division

Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Economic Status Report for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska 2004

The economic status report for the Alaska groundfish fisheries has been completed and was included in this year’s Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation (SAFE) report.

The report includes information on catch (by area, gear, species, and residency of vessel owner); value (both exvessel value and gross product value); prices (for catcher vessels, catcher-processors, shoreside processors, and motherships); prohibited species bycatch; discard totals and discard rates; number of vessels operating; total registered net tonnage; weeks spent fishing; number of vessels and plants with observers; observer deployment days and estimated observer costs; U.S. per capita consumption of fish and shellfish, fillets and steaks, and fish sticks and portions; producer and consumer price indexes; foreign exchange rates; and cold storage holdings of groundfish fillets and blocks.

In addition, the report includes an appendix detailing recent research undertaken by the Economics and Social Sciences Research Program (ESSRP) staff, including a project to profile communities in Alaska; a study of fishing crew demographics; an analysis of economic impacts of the Steller sea lion conservation area; a prospectus for market analysis of Alaska pollock; and a study to determine the public’s value of Steller sea lion protection.

Additional details on these and other ESSRP research activities, will be available on the AFSC website at

By Ron Felthoven

Halibut Sport Fishing Survey

The halibut sport fishery in Alaska is large. During 2000, for instance, over 400,000 halibut were harvested by sport anglers in the state. In recent years, several regulatory changes have been proposed that could significantly impact the sport fishery. To assess the impacts of pending and potential regulatory changes on sport angler behavior, it is necessary to have estimates of the baseline demand for halibut fishing trips and an understanding of the factors that affect it. To this end, Dan Lew has been working with Doug Larson (University of California, Davis) to develop a survey that will gather data from Alaska sport anglers for estimating demand and understanding angler preferences.

From July through September, focus groups and one-on-one interviews were conducted with Alaska recreational anglers in several cities in Alaska and other parts of the nation. These activities were used to identify problem concepts and questions and to refine and improve the survey. With the completion of these activities, the qualitative pretesting stage of the project is complete, and efforts to obtain OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act for the data collection stage are under way.

By Dan Lew

Recreation Demand Modeling Issues

Economists have recognized that when one estimates the demand for certain recreational activities, one should account for the time individuals must spend while traveling to the recreation site, as well as the time spent during the recreation activity itself. Failure to account for time can bias demand estimates and the economic welfare estimates of that activity. As a result, researchers have developed numerous approaches to include travel and recreation time in these models, many based on using the wage rate, or a fraction of the wage rate, as a proxy for the unobserved opportunity cost of time. These methods invariably ignore the fact that opportunity costs of time are measured with error.

The recently published paper “Accounting for Stochastic Values of Time in Discrete-Choice Recreation Demand Models,” by Dan Lew and Doug Larson (UC Davis) develops and estimates a recreation demand model that explicitly accounts for the value of time. The model results are compared to the conventional non-stochastic approach of modeling opportunity costs of travel time in recreation demand models. A model simulation illustrates how ignoring the stochastic nature of opportunity costs of time in recreation demand models can lead to biased results.

By Dan Lew

Estimating Historical Employment Data Under NAICS System for Alaska Fisheries

Recently, the way in which industries are classified was changed from the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system to the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Following this change, both the federal and state governments changed their data reporting system from SIC to NAICS. As a result, a lack of consistency in the time-series employment data has arisen, which severely limits analysis of the economic impacts of seafood industries on fishery-dependent regions and boroughs in Alaska.

A NMFS-funded project is now under way to convert the Alaska monthly employment data in the old system (the data for year 2001 and earlier years) to the new NAICS system. The consistent data set to be generated for fishery-dependent regions and boroughs will serve as an important data set for assessing economic impacts of fisheries. Converting the longstanding SIC database to the NAICS format will add a significant number of observations to the monthly employment data set, and will likely lead to improved model results. This project is being conducted by economists at the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development with NMFS oversight.

By Chang Seung


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