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Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division

Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Integrated Regional Economic-Ecosystem Modeling Project

The growing emphasis by NOAA on adopting an Ecosystem Approach to Management (EAM) to replace single-species fisheries management presents a challenge to biologists and economists who must be concerned with the highly adaptive nature and interconnectedness of ecosystems and economic systems.

In Alaskan marine ecosystems, commercially valuable species share relationships with many other species that provide few direct benefits to humans but play an integral role in sustaining productive fisheries. Analogous relationships exist within the Alaskan economy; commercial fishing and other industries draw inputs from the same pools of capital and labor resources and they sell their resulting outputs to consumers. Therefore, the policies governing the fisheries of Alaska will have wide-ranging impacts throughout both Alaskan marine ecosystems and the Alaskan economy. In such situations, general equilibrium models may be used to evaluate the impacts of fishery policies, and ideally would jointly capture the interconnected nature of both the physical and economic environment.

Although economies and ecosystems are interconnected, integrated models that link ecosystems and economies have not been adequately developed. This is in part due to their complexity, but also because of the unique nature of the Alaskan economy. Based on the concept of “general equilibrium of an ecosystem” and well established concept of economic general equilibrium, this project attempts to develop an integrated model of multi-species marine ecosystems and regional economies for Alaska fisheries.

The goal of the project is to begin developing an integrated ecological/regional economic model for Alaska that can serve as a decision-making tool for EAM management and for better satisfying National Standard 8. Researchers at the University of Wyoming and AFSC economist Chang Seung are working jointly on this project.

By Chang Seung
 

Measuring Fishing Productivity for the Pollock Catcher-Processor Fleet

Traditional productivity measures have been much less prevalent in fisheries economics than other measures of economic and biological performance. It has been increasingly recognized, however, that modeling and measuring fisheries’ production relationships is central to understanding and ultimately correcting the repercussions of externalities and poorly designed regulations.

Ron Felthoven and Catherine Morrison Paul (at the University of California, Davis) completed a manuscript that uses a transformation function production model to estimate productivity and its components for catcher-processors operating in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands pollock fishery for 1994 to 2003. Their research recognizes the roles of externalities from pollock harvesting by incorporating data on environmental conditions, bycatch, and biomass stock, and captures regulatory impacts through fishing strategy indicators and fixed-effects econometric methods. The authors find that the productive contributions and interactions of environmental conditions, bycatch, and fishing strategies are statistically significant, and that regulatory changes have had both direct and indirect impacts on catch patterns.

By Ron Felthoven
 

Economic Data Collection Program Begins in Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries

The AFSC has received hundreds of economic data reports (EDRs) from Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fishery harvesters and processors during the past quarter. The EDRs contain historic data on cost, revenue, ownership, and employment from the years 1998, 2001, and 2004. Our contractors, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, have subcontracted with a company to have the data coded from the existing paper format into an electronic database.

By Ron Felthoven
 

Spatial Fisheries and Bycatch Modeling

During the past quarter, Alan Haynie has completed a draft of a paper (joint with David Layton at the University of Washington (UW)) that estimates the economic impact of the closure of the Steller Sea Lion Conservation Area (SCA). In related work, Haynie and Layton have further developed and extended the methods that are applied in the SCA valuation paper to examine fishers’ reactions to various types of spatial closures (e.g., marine sanctuaries, marine protected areas (MPAs), essential fish habitat (EFH).

Alan’s research has also continued to focus on developing a new modeling technique for Bering Sea flatfish fisheries. Specifically, this paper will model dynamic intra-trip behavior and examine whether fishers change their bycatch avoidance strategy as the fleet approaches bycatch limits.

During this quarter, Alan has interviewed industry representatives and Alaska region staff, developed a dataset for analysis, and worked with co-authors on model development.

By Alan Haynie


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