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Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division

Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Protected Marine Species Economic Valuation Survey

Estimates of the economic benefits of protecting threatened and endangered marine species are often needed by resource managers and policy makers to assess the impacts of alternative management measures and policies that may affect these species. However, few estimates of the benefits of protecting marine species exist, and none exist for many species protected by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). To begin filling this information gap, Dan Lew has begun working with several other NMFS economists on a nonmarket valuation survey research project to estimate the value of protecting several protected marine species.

Numerous cetacean, pinniped, sea turtle, and fish species have been selected for inclusion in the study, and preliminary survey materials are being developed. The survey will employ stated preference questions to gather information on public preferences for protecting these species. The first set of focus groups to test a preliminary set of materials was held in early November. Changes were made based on the results of these groups, and a second set of focus groups is scheduled for early January 2006 to test the new versions and further develop materials. Due to the complexity of the issues and the number of species covered in the survey, it is anticipated that focus groups and other qualitative pretest activities will continue through 2006 before the survey is ready to be field tested.

By Dan Lew

Groundfish Market Data Collection and Translation

There is a need to improve our ability to conduct market studies on Alaskan groundfish fisheries in order to better understand the effects of changes in total allowable catches (TACs) on prices and revenue. Most of the empirical market studies of fish and/or fish products concentrate on market demand estimation.

There are two likely reasons that demand studies tend to dominate this field. First, the supply of fish is often assumed to be an exogenously determined fixed variable. The second is that cost data for suppliers at various stages of the market chain is not available, making it difficult to impossible to estimate theoretically consistent supply functions derived from a model based on profit maximization. Therefore, in many cases the data required for market analysis is price and quantity data for various species and products.

During the past quarter we have worked with individuals within NMFS, the University of Alaska, and Japan in order to identify new sources of price and quantity data for seafood exported from Alaska to foreign countries. Unfortunately, in many cases the available data are not in an electronic format and must be converted in order to facilitate data analysis. In other cases, the data are in another language and must be translated in order to be utilized.

At present we are working with a translator and data entry personnel in order to catalog these new additional data sources and put them in useable, interpretable, electronic formats. The goal will be to collect data on groundfish species and products, as well as price and quantity data for other species which may be useful when modeling the roles of substitute products. The availability of new data will improve the type and caliber of models that can be estimated and will improve our ability to answer policy-relevant questions.

By Ron Felthoven and Harrison Fell


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