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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Understanding Net Economic Values and Impacts of Saltwater Sportfishing in Alaska

To understand the economic value residents of Southeast Alaska place on saltwater sportfishing, Drs. Dan Lew (Economics and Social Sciences Research (ESSR Program) Program) and Doug Larson (University of California, Davis) have developed a recreation demand model that describes saltwater anglers' choices of whether or not to fish and, if they decide to fish, where to fish.

Using the model results, preliminary estimates of the net economic value of sportfishing trips (primarily for salmon) for resident anglers of Southeast Alaska were generated. These results indicate the expected value of a saltwater fishing trip occasion in Southeast Alaska for resident anglers is about $45.

Using data on saltwater fishing preferences for nonresidents of Alaska, the economic impacts of nonresident saltwater angling behavior were estimated under a variety of alternative sport fish harvest limits. To this end, Drs. Lew and Chang Seung (ESSR Program) developed and estimated a stated preference model of saltwater sportfishing participation to generate estimates of changes in participation resulting from changes in harvest limits for three primary recreational target species in Alaska saltwater fisheries: Pacific halibut, king (Chinook) salmon, and silver (coho) salmon.

These estimates were then used in a state-level computable general equilibrium (CGE) model and a social accounting matrix (SAM) model to generate estimates of the economic impacts of harvest policies. The models indicate that much of the impacts from a change in the expenditures resulting from change in harvest limits leak out of the state due to the state's heavy dependence on imports of goods and services from the rest of the United States. Moreover, changes to harvest limits appear to have a small effect on the Alaskan economy, at least in comparison to the overall size of the state economy.

By Dan Lew

Fishing Revenue, Productivity and Product Choice in the Alaskan Pollock Fishery

A key element in evaluating fishery management strategies is examining their effects on the economic performance of fishery participants, yet nearly all empirical studies of fisheries focus exclusively on the amount of fish harvested. The economic benefits derived from fish stocks involve the amount of revenue generated from fish processing, which is linked to both the way fish are harvested and the products produced from the fish.

In this study, Dr. Ron Felthoven (ESSR Program) and colleagues from the University of California, Davis (Catherine Morrison-Paul and Marcelo Torres), statistically estimate a revenue function for catcher-processor vessels operating in the Alaskan pollock fishery, using a flexible functional form that accomodates a wide range of production technologies.

The statistical framework recognizes that some inputs and outputs in the production process are jointly determined and accomodations are made to avoid bias that can arise in estimating models in such a setting. Furthermore, the model expands previous research in this area by including a variety of fishing inputs and conditions that affect fishing and processing productivity.

The authors find significant own-price supply responses and product substitutability, suggesting that product portfolios are responsive to changes in relative prices. The authors also find that revenues have increased due to the longer season and changes in fishing and towing duration after a regulatory change introduced property rights through a new fishing cooperative.

They also find significant growth in economic productivity, or higher revenues over time after controlling for all the inputs used in production and changes in product prices. These patterns suggest that the move to a catch-shares management system has contributed significantly to economic performance in the pollock fishery.

This article is in press at the Environmental and Resource Economics journal.

By Ron Felthoven

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