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Economic and Social Sciences Research: Current Projects

Research Areas

Click on the links below to view information for each project. Information on past research conducted by the Economic and Social Sciences Research Program is available here as well as in the Project Summary sections of the Economic Status Reports for BSAI/GOA Groundfish and BSAI Crab. Additional project descriptions can be found in the current and past AFSC quarterly research reports.

Markets and Trade

+ Developing Better Understanding of Fisheries Markets

Ron Felthoven and Ben Fissel

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Despite collecting a relatively broad set of information regarding the catch, products produced, and the prices received at both the ex-vessel and first-wholesale levels, our understanding of fishery and product markets and the factors driving those markets in the North Pacific is relatively incomplete. The primary goal of this project is to improve our understanding and characterization of the status and trends of seafood markets for a broad range of products and species. AFSC economists have met with a number of seafood industry members along the supply chain, from fish harvesters to those who process the final products available at local retailer stores and restaurants. This project will be a culmination of the information obtained regarding seafood markets and sources of information industry relies upon for some of their business decisions. The report includes figures, tables, and text illustrating the current and historical status of seafood markets relevant to the North Pacific. The scope of the analysis includes global, international, regional, and domestic wholesale markets to the extent they are relevant for a given product. To the extent practicable for a given product, the analysis addresses product value (revenues), quantities, prices, market share, supply chain, import/export markets, major participants in the markets, product demand, end-use, current/recent issues (e.g., certification), current/recent news, and future prospects. An extract of the market profiles was included in Status Report for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska, 2014. A standalone dossier titled Alaska Fisheries Wholesale Market Profiles contains the complete detailed set of market profiles. We are currently seeking funding to update the market profiles in 2017.

+ Alaska Groundfish Wholesale Price Projections

Benjamin Fissel

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For a significant portion of the year there is a temporal lag in officially reported first-wholesale prices. This is lag occurs because the prices are derived from the Commercial Operators Annual Report which is not available until after data processing and validation of the data, in August of each year. The result is a data lag that grows to roughly a year and a half (e..g. prior to August 2015 the most recent available official prices were from 2014). To provide information on the current state of fisheries markets, nowcasting is used to estimate 2014 first-wholesale prices from corresponding export prices which are available in near real time. Nowcasting provided fairly accurate predictions and displayed rather modest prediction error with most of the confidence bounds within 5-10% of the price. In addition, time series models are used to project first-wholesale prices for 2016 - 2019. Resampling methods are used estimate a prediction density of potential future prices. Confidence bounds are calculated from the prediction density to give the probability that the prices will fall within a certain range. Prediction densities also provide information on the expected volatility of prices. As prices are projected past the current year the confidence bounds grow reflecting increasing uncertainty further out in the future. The results of this project will be presented in the Status Report for the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska, 2014. A technical report, Fissel (2015), details the methods used for creating the price projections.

Fissel, B. 2015. “Methods for the Alaska groundfish first-wholesale price projections: Section 6 of the Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries off Alaska.” NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-305, 39 p. U.S. Department of Commerce

+ Economic Indices for the North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries: Calculation and Visualization

Benjamin Fissel

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Fisheries markets are complex; goods have many attributes such as the species, product form, and the gear with which it was caught. The price that fisheries goods command and the products they compete against are both functions of these various attributes. For example, whitefish products of one species may compete with whitefish products of another species. Additionally, markets influence a processing company’s decision to convert their available catch into different product types. During any given year it is determining whether to produce fillets or surimi, or perhaps to adjusting gear types to suit markets and consumer preferences. This myriad of market influences can make it difficult to disentangle the relative influence of different factors in monitoring aggregate performance in Alaska fisheries. This research employs a method that takes an aggregate index (e.g. wholesale-value index) and decomposes it into subindices (e.g. a pollock wholesale-value index and a Pacific cod wholesale-value index). These indices provide management with a broad perspective on aggregate performance while simultaneously characterizing and simplifying significant amounts of information across multiple market dimensions. A series of graphs were designed and organized to display the indices and supporting statistics. Market analysis based on these indices has been published as a section in the Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska since 2010. A technical report, Fissel (2014), details the methods used for creating the indices.

Fissel, B. 2014. “Economic Indices for the North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries: Calculation and Visualization.” NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-279, 59 p. U.S. Department of Commerce.

Data Collection and Synthesis

+ Economic Data Reporting in Groundfish Catch Share Programs

Brian Garber-Yonts and Alan Haynie

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The 2006 reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Management and Conservation Act (MSA) includes heightened requirements for the analysis of socioeconomic impacts and the collection of economic and social data. These changes eliminate the previous restrictions on collecting economic data, clarify and expand the economic and social information that is required, and make explicit that NOAA Fisheries has both the authority and responsibility to collect the economic and social information necessary to meet requirements of the MSA. Beginning in 2005 with the BSAI Crab Rationalization (CR) Program, NMFS has implemented detailed annual mandatory economic data reporting requirements for selected catch share fisheries in Alaska, under the guidance of the NPFMC, and overseen by AFSC economists. In 2008, the Amendment 80 (A80) Non-AFA Catcher-Processor Economic Data Report (EDR) program was implemented concurrent with the A80 program, and in 2012 the Amendment 91 (A91) EDR collection went into effect for vessels and quota share holding entities in the American Fisheries Act (AFA) pollock fishery. In advance of rationalization or new bycatch management measures in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) trawl groundfish fishery currently in development by the NPFMC, EDR data collection will begin in 2016 to gather baseline data on costs, earnings, and employment for vessels and processors participating in GOA groundfish fisheries.

Amendment 91 EDR

The A91 EDR program was developed by the NPFMC with the specific objective of assessing the effectiveness of Chinook salmon prohibited species catch (PSC) avoidance incentive measures implemented under A91, including sector-level Incentive Plan Agreements (IPAs), prohibited species catch (PSC) hard caps, and the performance standard. The data are intended to support this assessment over seasonal variation in salmon PSC incidence and with respect to how timing, location, and other aspects of pollock fishing and salmon PSC occur. The EDR is a mandatory reporting requirement for all entities participating in the AFA pollock trawl fishery, including vessel masters and businesses that operate one or more AFA-permitted vessels active in fishing or processing BSAI pollock, CDQ groups receiving allocations of BSAI pollock, and representatives of sector entities receiving allocations of Chinook salmon PSC from NMFS. The EDR is comprised of three separate survey forms: the Chinook salmon PSC Allocation Compensated Transfer Report (CTR), the Vessel Fuel Survey, and the Vessel Master Survey. In addition to the EDR program, the data collection measures developed by the Council also specified modification of the Daily Fishing Logbook (DFL) for BSAI pollock trawl CVs and CPs to add a "checkbox" to the tow-level logbook record to indicate relocation of vessels to alternate fishing grounds for the purpose of Chinook PSC avoidance.

AFSC economists presented a report to the NPFMC in February 2014 on the first year of A91 EDR data collection (conducted in 2013 for 2012 calendar year operations) and preliminary analysis of the data. The goal of the report was to identify potential problems in the design or implementation of the data collections and opportunities for improvements that could make more efficient use of reporting burden and may ultimately produce data that would be more effective for informing Council decision making.

Notable findings in the report were that the Vessel Fuel Survey and Vessel Master Survey have been successfully implemented to collect data from all active AFA vessels and have yielded substantial new information that will be useful for analysis of Amendment 91. Quantitative fuel use and cost data have been used in statistical analyses of fishing behavior, and qualitative information reported by vessel masters regarding observed fishing and PSC conditions during A and B pollock seasons and perceptions regarding management measures and bycatch avoidance incentives has been useful to analysts for interpretation of related fishery data.

No compensated transfers (i.e., arms-length market transactions) of Chinook PSC have been reported to date (for 2012-2015), however, and it remains uncertain whether an in-season market for Chinook PSC as envisioned by the CTR survey will arise in the instance of high-Chinook PSC incidence or if the CTR survey as designed will be effective in capturing the nature of trades. A more detailed discussion of the A91 Chinook EDR is presented elsewhere in this document.

GOA Trawl and Amendment 80 EDR

During 2014, AFSC economists collaborated with NPFMC and Alaska Region staff and industry members to develop draft data collection instruments and a preliminary rule following NPFMC recommendations for implementing EDR data collection in the GOA trawl groundfish fishery. New EDR forms for GOA groundfish trawl catcher vessels and processors were developed, evaluated, and revised in workshop meetings and individual interviews with members of industry, and modifications to the existing A80 Trawl CP EDR form have been made to accommodate Council recommendations to extend the A80 data collection to incorporate A80 CPs GOA activity and capture data from non-A80 CPs in the GOA. The draft data collection forms and proposed rule were reviewed and approved by the Council at their April, 2014 meeting, and the proposed rule was published August 11, 2014 (79 FR 46758; see for more information). The final rule is expected to be published by the end of 2014, authorizing mandatory data collection to begin with reporting of 2015 calendar year data (to be submitted in 2016). In preparation for this, AFSC will continue working with industry to test and refine the draft EDR forms to ensure data to be collected will meet appropriate data quality standards, including modifications to reduce the reporting burden in the A80 EDR program and improve the utility of data collected from CP vessels in non-AFA groundfish fisheries in the BSAI as well as in the GOA.

+ Evaluating Statistical Estimation Strategies for BSAI Crab Rationalization Economic Data Reports

Brian Garber-Yonts, Michael Dalton, Chang Seung, and Sung Ahn

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In 2005 the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) crab fisheries managed under authority of NOAA Fisheries underwent a drastic change in management regime when the Crab Rationalization Program (CRP) was implemented. As designed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the CRP allocated catch-share quota privileges to both harvesters and processors with the objectives of addressing excess harvesting and processing capacity and improving the performance of the crab fisheries with respect to low economic returns and economic instability for harvesters, processors, and communities. In anticipation of potential changes in the magnitude and distribution of benefits, employment, and other social and economic effects of the CRP, the Council tasked the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) with leading the development and implementation of a mandatory reporting requirement to collect annual cost, earnings, and employment data from crab fishery participants. Economic Data Report (EDR) data are intended to support computation of a numberof economic performance metrics to evaluate the effects of rationalization on fishery participants anddependent communities, and to provide data and analysis in support of future management changes.

EDR data are a rich source of information for analyzing economic performance of BSAI crab fisheries. As a whole, EDRs include a panel data set of production factor inputs and costs (e.g., fuel, bait), and output and revenue (e.g., landed catch, finished products), and supplement extensive administrative records capturing operational aspects of fishery participants’ production. Despite providing a detailed census of all fishery participants’ costs and earnings, the full potential of these data has not been realized because of data quality concerns arising from non-sampling sources of survey error and a lack of statistical methods for addressing these concerns. While incomplete, empirical information regarding incidence and structure of measurement error in the panel is provided by annual records-check validation audits performed on a random sample of observations. Both the costs and earnings data panel as well as the qualitative and quantitative data quality information regarding the panel are unique among commercial fisheries economic monitoring efforts. In order to make the best use of these data, address existing concerns about data quality, and establish a statistical framework to support future monitoring and analysis, AFSCs economic research program sought technical guidance on how to systematically treat observed and unobserved measurement error and obtain consistent estimates of economic performance measures from EDR and other ancillary data sources. We were also interested in examining the extent to which the addition of EDR cost data improves model performance beyond simpler specifications based upon revenue and effort data.

This study used two sets of data. One set of data includes observations that were audited, and corrected if the observations are found in error. The other set includes observations that were not audited, therefore subject to measurement errors mostly caused by reporting or recording errors. We found that, based on the audit data, not every observation is subject to measurement errors. Only about 20% in the audit data had measurement errors. Therefore, assuming that the audit data were randomly selected, we estimate that about 20% of the observations in the non-audit data have measurement errors, but do not know which observations have measurement errors. This keeps us from applying the traditional measurement errors analysis (i.e., error-in-variables approach, EIV, Fuller 1987) that assumes every observation is subject to measurement errors. Instead, we extended the parametric fractional imputation (PFI) of Kim (2011), and applied the method to the EDR data in which some unknown part of the observations are subject to measurement errors. We computed the parameter estimates from both PFI and OLS methods, and found that the OLS estimates, which are computed ignoring measurement errors, can significantly bias the quantitative relationship between important variables. We are currently working on a manuscript for potential publication in a journal.

Recreational Fisheries and Non-Market Valuation

+ Alaska Recreational Charter Boat Operator Research

Dan Lew and Amber Himes-Cornell

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The purpose of this project is to develop, test, and implement a survey that collects data to understand the public’s preferences for protecting the Cook Inlet beluga whale (CIBW), a distinct population segment (stock) of beluga whale that resides solely in the Cook Inlet, Alaska. It is the smallest of the five U.S. beluga whale stocks. In October 2008, the CIBW was listed as an endangered species (73 FR 62919). It is believed that the population has declined from as many as 1,300 to about 312 animals (see for more details). The public benefits associated with protection actions for the Cook Inlet beluga whale are substantially the result of the non-consumptive value people attribute to such protection. This includes active use values associated with being able to view beluga whales and passive use, or “existence,” values unrelated to direct human use. No empirical estimates of these values for Cook Inlet beluga whales are currently available, but this information is needed for decision makers to more fully understand the trade-offs involved in evaluating population recovery planning alternatives and to complement other information available about the costs, benefits, and impacts of alternative plans (including public input).

Considerable effort was invested in developing and testing the survey instrument. Qualitative pretesting of survey materials is generally recognized as a key step in developing any high quality survey (e.g., Dillman, Smyth, Christian [2009]). Pretesting survey materials using focus groups and cognitive interviews is important for improving questions, information, and graphics presented in the survey instruments so they can be better understood and more consistently interpreted by respondents to maximize the likelihood of eliciting the desired information accurately. During 2009 and 2010, focus groups and cognitive interviews were undertaken to evaluate and refine the survey materials of a stated preference survey of the public’s preferences for CIBW recovery. As a result of the input received from these qualitative testing activities, the survey materials were revised and then integrated into a Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) clearance request package that was prepared and submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for the pilot survey implementation, which precedes implementing the full survey. The pilot survey was administered during 2011. PRA clearance for the full survey implementation was obtained in spring 2013, and the full survey was fielded in late 2013. The data were cleaned and validated before delivery at the end of the year. Several models have been developed to analyze the data and preliminary estimates of willingness to pay generated. During 2016, preliminary results were presented at multiple conferences and seminars. A paper summarizing these results is in preparation.

Lew, D.K., A. Himes-Cornell, and J. Lee. 2015. “Weighting and Data Imputation for Missing Data in a Cost and Earnings Fishery Survey.” Marine Resource Economics 30(2):  219-230.

Lew, D.K., G. Sampson, A. Himes-Cornell, J. Lee, and B. Garber-Yonts. 2015. “Costs, Earnings, and Employment in the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector, 2011-2013.” U.S. Dept of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-2738, 2015, 134 p.

+ Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Economic Valuation Survey

Dan Lew

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The primary goal of this study is to estimate the demand for, and economic value of, saltwater sport fishing trips in Alaska using data collected from economic surveys of Alaska anglers. Given that fishing regulations, fish stock conditions, and angler preferences may change over time, these surveys are conducted periodically to update the data used to generate estimates of economic value and demand for saltwater fishing opportunities in Alaska.

In the first survey conducted for this project, the survey instrument collected basic trip information on fishing trips taken during 2006 by both resident and non-resident anglers and uses a stated preference choice experiment framework to identify anglers’ preferences for fish size, catch, and harvest regulations related to halibut, king (Chinook) salmon and silver (Coho) salmon. The survey also included questions that provide detailed information on time and money constraints and characteristics of the most recent fishing trip, including detailed trip expenditures. Details on this survey implementation and data collected are provided in Lew, Lee, and Larson (2010).

Together, these data were used to estimate the demand for Alaska saltwater sport fishing and to understand how attributes such as fish size and number caught and harvest regulations affect participation rates and the value of fishing experiences. Several papers describing models that estimate the net economic value of saltwater sport fishing trips by Southeast Alaska anglers using these data were completed. The first paper (Lew and Larson, 2011) describes a model of fishing behavior that accounts for two decisions, participation and site choice, which is estimated using a repeated discrete choice modeling approach. The paper presents the results from estimating this model and the economic values suggested by the model results with a primary emphasis on Chinook and Coho salmon trip values. The second paper (Larson and Larson, 2013) analyzes the role of targeting behavior and the use of different sources of harvest rate information on saltwater sportfishing demand in Southeast Alaska. The third paper (Larson and Lew, 2014) is primarily methodological, as it assesses different ways of estimating the opportunity cost of travel time in the recreational fishing demand model. In the latter two papers, economic values for saltwater species are presented, but the emphases of the papers are on addressing other issues.

During 2010 and early 2011, the 2007 survey was updated and qualitatively tested with resident and non-resident anglers. The new survey aimed to collect much of the same information collected by the 2007 survey, but also collected additional information needed to facilitate the data’s application in a wider range of models and for a wider range of policies. During 2012, the updated survey was fielded following OMB clearance. Several analyses were completed using these data, with Lew and Larson (2015) reporting estimates of economic values of Alaska marine charter boat sport fishing associated with non-Alaska anglers and Lew and Larson (forthcoming) presenting economic values of Alaska saltwater sport fishing by Alaska resident anglers.

In 2015 and 2016, the survey was updated again to better reflect changes that had occurred since the previous survey. The revised survey was tested with resident and non-resident anglers. It is currently being reviewed by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. Assuming a timely approval, the survey will be implemented during 2017.

Dillman, D.A., J.D. Smyth, and L.M. Christian. 2009. Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. 3rd edition. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

+ Demand for Saltwater Sport Fishing Trips in Alaska

Dan Lew and Doug Larson

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The primary goal of this study is to estimate the demand for, and economic value of, saltwater sport fishing trips in Alaska using data collected from an economic survey of Alaska anglers. The survey instrument collects basic trip information on fishing trips taken during 2006 by both resident and non-resident anglers and uses a stated preference choice experiment framework to identify anglers’ preferences for fish size, catch, and harvest regulations related to halibut, king (Chinook) salmon and silver (Coho) salmon. The survey also includes questions that provide detailed information on time and money constraints and characteristics of the most recent fishing trip, including detailed trip expenditures. Details on the survey implementation and data collected are provided in Lew, Lee, and Larson (2010).

Together, these data were used to estimate the demand for Alaska saltwater sport fishing and to understand how attributes such as fish size and number caught and harvest regulations affect participation rates and the value of fishing experiences. Several papers describing models that estimate the net economic value of saltwater sport fishing trips by Southeast Alaska anglers using these data were completed. The first paper (Lew and Larson, 2011) describes a model of fishing behavior that accounts for two decisions, participation and site choice, which is estimated using a repeated discrete choice modeling approach. The paper presents the results from estimating this model and the economic values suggested by the model results with a primary emphasis on Chinook and Coho salmon trip values. The second paper (Larson and Larson, 2013) analyzes the role of targeting behavior and the use of different sources of harvest rate information on saltwater sportfishing demand in Southeast Alaska. The third paper (Larson and Lew, 2014) is primarily methodological, as it assesses different ways of estimating the opportunity cost of travel time in the recreational fishing demand model. In the latter two papers, economic values for saltwater species are presented, but the emphases of the papers are on addressing other issues.

During 2010 and early 2011, the 2007 survey was updated and qualitatively tested with resident and non-resident anglers. The new survey aimed to collect much of the same information collected by the 2007 survey, but also collected additional information needed to facilitate the data’s application in a wider range of models and for a wider range of policies. During 2012, the updated survey was fielded following OMB clearance. The data are currently being analyzed, and similar models to those described above will be applied to the data to estimate economic values of saltwater sport fishing in the near future.

Larson, D.M., and D.K. Lew. 2013. “How Do Catch Rates Affect Angler Trip Patterns?” Marine Resource Economics, 28(2): 155-173.

Larson, D.M., and D.K. Lew. 2014. “The Opportunity Cost of Travel Time as a Noisy Wage Fraction.” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 96(2): 420-437.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. “Stated Preferences of Alaska Resident Saltwater Anglers for Contemporary Regulatory Policies.” Forthcoming in Marine Fisheries Review.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2015. “Stated Preferences for Size and Bag Limits of Alaska Charter Boat Anglers.” Marine Policy 61: 66-76.

Lew, D.K. and D.M. Larson. 2011. “A Repeated Mixed Logit Approach to Valuing a Local Sport Fishery: The Case of Southeast Alaska Salmon.” Land Economics 87(4): 712-729.

Lew, D.K., J. Lee, and D.M. Larson. 2010. “Saltwater Sport Fishing in Alaska: A Summary and Description of the Alaska Saltwater Sport Fishing Economic Survey, 2007.” U.S. Dept of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-214, 229 pages.

+ Estimating Economic Values for Saltwater Sport Fishing in Alaska Using Stated Preference Data

Dan Lew and Doug Larson

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Knowing how anglers value their fishing opportunities is a fundamental building block of sound marine policy, especially for stocks for which there is conflict over allocation between different uses (e.g., allocation between recreational and commercial uses). This study reports on the results from an analysis of stated preference choice experiment data related to how recreational saltwater anglers value their catches and the regulations governing Pacific halibut Hippoglossus stenolepis, Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, and coho salmon O. kisutch off the coast of Alaska.

The data used in the analysis are from a national mail survey conducted during 2007 of people who purchased sport fishing licenses in Alaska in 2006. The survey was developed with input collected through several focus groups and cognitive interviews with Alaska anglers, as well as from fishery managers. Each survey included several stated preference choice experiment questions, which ask respondents to choose between not fishing and two hypothetical fishing trip options that differ in the species targeted, length of the trip, fishing location, trip cost, and catch-related characteristics (including the expected catch and harvest restrictions). Responses to these questions are analyzed using random utility maximization-based econometric models. The model results are then used to estimate the economic value, or willingness to pay, non-resident and Alaska resident anglers place on saltwater boat fishing trips in Alaska and assess their response to changes in characteristics of fishing trips.

The results show that Alaska resident anglers had mean trip values ranging from $246 to $444, while non-residents had much higher values ($2,007 to $2,639), likely reflecting that their trips are both less common and considerably more expensive to take. Non-residents generally had significant positive values for increases in number of fish caught, bag limit, and fish size, while Alaska residents valued size and bag limit changes but not catch increases. The economic values are also discussed in the context of allocation issues, particularly as they relate to the sport fishing and commercial fishing sectors for Pacific halibut. A comparison of the marginal value estimates of Pacific halibut in the two sectors suggests that the current allocation is not economically efficient, as the marginal value in the sport sector is higher than in the directed halibut fishery in the commercial sector. Importantly, the results are not able to provide an estimate of how much allocation in each sector would result in the most efficient allocation, which requires additional data and analysis to fully estimate the supply and demand for Pacific halibut in each sector. The results from this study have been published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

Since the data support a model specification that differentiates between values for fish that are caught and kept, caught and released (due to a bag limit restriction), and only potentially caught (fish in excess of the number caught but within the bag limit), additional work has been conducted to derive the value of these types of fishing trips. The estimated models indicate these different catch variables are important and anglers view them distinctly, generally valuing the fish they keep the highest and those they are required to release, or potentially catch, less. The marginal values anglers place on catch and release fish and potential fish were generally positive. And as a result, among resident anglers at least, this contributed to mean trip values for salmon catch-and-release fishing trips being larger than trips where the anglers catch their limits, suggesting that trips where anglers do not catch their limits are valuable. Alaska residents were willing to pay more for catch and keep halibut trips. Importantly, however, the mean trip values associated with catch-and-release only trips and trips where anglers harvested fish were not statistically different in any comparison. In addition, as illustrated above, differentiating between different types of fishing and estimating separate values for each type can influence the calculations of the marginal value of a fish often desired in policy evaluation. The paper (Lew and Larson 2014) summarizing these results have been published in Fisheries Research.

In addition, analyses are proceeding using data from the Alaska saltwater sport fishing survey conducted during 2012 that collected information on fishing behavior and preferences from people who purchased sport fishing licenses in Alaska in 2011. The stated preference choice experiment questions in that survey capture angler preferences for regulatory tools that were not in place when the previous survey was conducted (e.g., maximum size limits on Pacific halibut). Some results from the analysis of these data were presented at the 2013 North American Association of Fisheries Economists Biennial Forum and at the NMFS Recreational Fisheries Data and Model Needs Workshop, and were published in Marine Policy (Lew and Larson 2015). The Lew and Larson (2015) paper focused on economic fishing trip values associated with non-resident anglers. A separate analysis was done to estimate the fishing trip values associated with Alaska resident anglers and is forthcoming in Marine Fisheries Review.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2012. “Economic Values for Saltwater Sport Fishing in Alaska: A Stated Preference Analysis.” North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 32(4): 745-759.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2014. “Is a Fish in Hand Worth Two in the Sea? Evidence from a Stated Preference Study.” Fisheries Research 157: 124-135.

Lew, D.K., and D.M. Larson. 2015. “Stated Preferences for Size and Bag Limits of Alaska Charter Boat Anglers.” Marine Policy 61: 66-76.

+ Geospatial Aspects of Non-Market Values for Threatened and Endangered Marine Species

Kristy Wallmo and Dan Lew

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An issue that arises in applying non-market values in policy settings is defining the extent of the economic jurisdiction – the area that includes all people who hold values – for a good or service. In this research, we estimate non-market values for recovering several threatened and endangered marine species in the U.S. and assess the geospatial distribution across the U.S. In two papers (Wallmo and Lew 2015, 2016), we compare estimates for households in the nine Census regions, as well as for the entire nation. We statistically compare species values between the regional samples to help determine the extent of and variation in the economic jurisdiction for endangered species recovery.

In related work, we more closely examine spatial distribution of individual willingness to pay values using tools from geographical analysis (Johnston et al. 2015). The paper demonstrates a suite of analytic methods that may be used to characterize otherwise undetectable spatial heterogeneity in stated preference willingness to pay (WTP). We emphasize flexible methods applicable to large scale analysis with diffuse policy impacts and uncertainty regarding the appropriate scales over which spatial patterns should be evaluated. Illustrated methods include spatial interpolation and multi-scale analysis of hot/cold spots using local indicators of spatial association. An application to threatened and endangered marine species illustrates the empirical findings that emerge. Relevant findings include previously unobserved, large scale clustering of non-use WTP estimates that appears at multiple scales of analysis.

Wallmo, K., and D.K. Lew. 2015.  “Public Preferences for Endangered Species Recovery:  An Examination of Geospatial Scale and Non-Market Values.”  Frontiers in Marine Science 2:55..

Johnston, R., D. Jarvis, K. Wallmo, and D.K. Lew. 2015.  “Characterizing Large Scale Spatial Pattern in Nonuse Willingness to Pay:  An Application to Threatened and Endangered Marine Species.”  In pressat Land Economics.

Wallmo, K., and D.K. Lew. 2016. “A Comparison of Regional and National Values for Recovering Threatened and Endangered Marine Species in the United States.” Journal of Environmental Management 179: 38-46.

Models of Fishermen Behavior, Management and Economic Performance

+ Hidden Flexibility: Institutions, Incentives, and the Hidden Margins of Selectivity in Fishing

Joshua K. Abbott, Alan C. Haynie, and Matthew N. Reimer

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In 2008, participants in the non-pollock “Amendment 80” groundfish trawl fisheries were given exclusive harvesting quota privileges through their participation in cooperatives to a share of their primary target species – ending the previous common property system for all but a small number of vessels that opted out of the program.

The degree to which selectivity in fisheries is malleable to changes in incentive structures is critical for policy design. We examine data for the Amendment 80 fishery before and after a transition from management under common-pool quotas to a fishery cooperative and note a substantial shift in post-cooperative catch from bycatch and toward valuable target species. We examine the margins used to affect catch composition, finding that large and fine-scale spatial decision making and avoidance of night fishing were critical. We argue that the poor incentives for selectivity in many systems may obscure significant flexibility in multispecies production technologies. This manuscript was published in 2015 in Land Economics. As of October 2016, a related manuscript is also in press in Marine Resource Economics.

Abbott, J., A. Haynie, and M. Reimer. 2015. “Hidden Flexibility: Institutions, Incentives and the Margins of Selectivity in Fishing.” Land Economics 91 (1): 169–195.

Reimer, M., J.K. Abbott, and A. Haynie. In press. “Empirical Models of the Fishery Production Process: Conflating Technology with Incentives?” Marine Resource Economics.

+ Strong connections, loose coupling: the influence of the Bering Sea ecosystem on commercial fisheries and subsistence harvests in Alaska

Alan C. Haynie and Henry P. Huntington

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Human-environment connections are the subject of much study, and the details of those connections are crucial factors in effective environmental management. In a large, interdisciplinary study of the eastern Bering Sea ecosystem involving disciplines from physical oceanography to anthropology, one of the research teams examined commercial fisheries and another looked at subsistence harvests by Alaska Natives. Commercial fisheries and subsistence harvests are extensive, demonstrating strong connections between the ecosystem and the humans who use it. At the same time, however, both research teams concluded that the influence of ecosystem conditions on the outcomes of human activities was weaker than anticipated. Likely explanations of this apparently loose coupling include the ability of fishers and hunters to adjust to variable conditions, and the role of social systems and management in moderating the direct effects of changes in the ecosystem. We propose a new conceptual model for future studies that incorporates a greater range of social factors and their dynamics, in addition to similarly detailed examinations of the ecosystem itself.

Haynie, A.C. and H.P. Huntington. 2016. “Strong connections, loose coupling: The influence of the Bering Sea ecosystem on commercial fisheries and subsistence harvests in Alaska.” Ecology and Society. 21 (4):6. [online] URL:

+ The Economic Impacts of Technological Change in North Pacific Fisheries

Benjamin Fissel, Ben Gilbert and Jake LaRiviere

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Technological advancements have had a significant impact on fishing fleets and their behavior. Technology has expanded both the range of fish stocks we are able to target and the efficiency with which we capture, process, and bring products to market. Technology induced changes in the feasibility and efficiency of fishing can impact the composition and behavior the fishing fleet. Fissel and Gilbert (2014) provide a formal bioeconomic model with technological change showing that marked technology advances can explain over-capitalization as a natural fleet behavior for profit maximizing fishermen when total catch and effort are unconstrained and the technological advancements are known. Extending this analysis to North Pacific fisheries requires research on the theory of technological change in TAC-based and catch share management regimes as well as statistical methods for identifying unknown technological events as this data hasn’t been historically collected. Fissel, Gilbert and LaRiviere (2013) extends the theory of technological change to by considering the incentive to adopt new technologies under in an open-access resource setting, finding that low stock levels in particular increase adoption incentives. This ongoing project develops the theory and methods necessary to analyze technological change in North Pacific fisheries through two in-progress manuscripts. Fissel (2013) adapts statistical methods for identifying marked changes in financial times series to the fisheries context using both simulation and empirics to show and validate the methods. North Pacific fisheries are considered with these methods as a case where technological change is unknown. This manuscript is expected to be completed in 2015. Future research on this project will use the results from these papers to analyze the impact of technological advancement in North Pacific fisheries with particular attention toward the impact of on-board computers.

Fissel, B. and B. Gilbert. 2014. “Technology Shocks and Capital Investment in the Commons”, under revision at Environmental and Resource Economics.

LaRiviere, J., B. Fissel and B. Gilbert. 2013. “Technology Adoption and Diffusion with Uncertainty in a Commons.” Economics Letters 120(2): 297-301.

Fissel, B. 2014. “Estimating Unknown Productivity Shocks in Fisheries.” In progress.

+ FishSET: a Spatial Economics Toolbox to better Incorporate Fisher Behavior into Fisheries

Alan C. Haynie and Corinne Bassin

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Since the 1980s, fisheries economists have modeled the factors that influence fishers’ spatial and participation choices in order to understand the trade-offs of fishing in different locations. This knowledge can improve predictions of how fishers will respond to area closures, changes in market conditions, or to management actions such as the implementation of catch share programs.

NOAA Fisheries and partners are developing the Spatial Economics Toolbox for Fisheries (FishSET). The aim of FishSET is to join the best scientific data and tools to evaluate the trade-offs that are central to fisheries management. FishSET will improve the information available for NOAA Fisheries’ core initiatives such as coastal and marine spatial planning and integrated ecosystem assessments and allow research from this well-developed field of fisheries economics to be incorporated directly into the fisheries management process.

One element of the project is the development of best practices and tools to improve data organization. A second core component is the development of estimation routines that enable comparisons of state-of-the-art fisher location choice models. FishSET enables new models to be more easily and robustly tested and applied when the advances lead to improved predictions of fisher behavior. Pilot projects that utilize FishSET are in different stages of development in different regions in the United States, which will ensure that the data challenges that confront modelers in different regions are confronted at the onset of the project. Implementing projects in different regions will also provide insight into how economic and fisheries data requirements for effective management may vary across different types of fisheries. In Alaska, FishSET is currently being utilized in pilot projects involving the Amendment 80 and AFA pollock fisheries, but in the future models will be developed for many additional fishing fleets.

+ Evaluating the Effectiveness of Rolling Hotspot Closures for Salmon Bycatch Reduction in the Bering Sea Pollock Fishery

Alan C. Haynie

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Bycatch is commonly noted as a primary problem of fisheries management and has been a recurrent management concern in the North Pacific. Bycatch levels of chum and Chinook salmon rose substantially beginning early in the last decade, with chum bycatch peaking in 2005 and Chinook bycatch reaching a record high in 2007 before bycatch of both species declined. Prior to 2011, in the Bering Sea pollock fishery, Chinook and chum salmon bycatch reduction measures consisted principally of area closures, although a Chinook salmon bycatch hard cap with individual bycatch allocations went into effect beginning 2011 which would close the fishery if the cap were reached.

Since the mid-1990s, area closures aimed at bycatch reduction have consisted of both large long-term Salmon Savings Area closures and short-term rolling hotspot (RHS) closures. Significant areas of the pollock fishing grounds have been closed at some point in all years between 1995 and 2011. Currently, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is considering several measures to further reduce Chinook and chum bycatch, including evaluating means to improve industry-imposed RHS closures. In this paper, we quantify the reduction in bycatch following the implementation of actual RHS closures. We also briefly discuss the hard cap and incentive plan agreements (IPAs) that were put in place in 2011 to reduce Chinook salmon bycatch. This work is part of on-going NPFMC consideration of salmon bycatch reduction measures and will also be submitted as a manuscript to a scientific journal.

+ Assessing the Economic Impacts of 2011 Steller Sea Lion Protective Measures in the Aleutian Islands

Alan Haynie and Matthew Reimer

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One of the primary challenges to fisheries management in Alaska continues to be protecting the endangered Western stock of Steller sea lions. For more than 20 years, regulations have restricted fishing effort in the Aleutian Islands, Bering Sea, and Gulf of Alaska. In 2011, additional measures were implemented that further restricted fishing in the Aleutians because of concern that fishing there is harming the SSL population. This research is an assessment of the costs the recent 2011 protection measures in the Aleutians generated in affected fisheries. The project is underway and will be completed in early 2015 and a manuscript will be submitted to a scientific journal.

Because regulations have been sequentially implemented over more than two decades, the reference point is not the native state of the fishery, but rather the years prior to 2011. In 2008 Amendment 80 (A80) created cooperatives that granted catch shares to vessels based on individual catch history. Comparing this fishery in the period after the implementation of A80 and before the 2011 SSL measures, with the period since the implementation of the 2011 measures is likely to give the best assessment of impacts on this fishery. Spatial data will be utilized for earlier periods to inform analysts of the value of fishing in different areas that were closed by earlier actions.

For several reasons, the impacts on A80 vessels are expected to be most comprehensively calculable relative to other fishing fleets. First, economic data reports (EDR) and 100-percent observer coverage are available for the fishery since 2008. Second, considerable spatial analysis of the A80 fishery has been conducted in previous research (Abbott, Haynie, and Reimer 2014).

Using a variety of statistical and econometric techniques, fishing behavior, production, and revenue will be examined for the years prior to, and following, the implementation of the SSL protective measures. The actual alternative fishing actions of the vessels affected by the SSL actions will be carefully assessed so that a net cost rather than gross impact of the management action is estimated. Additionally, the amount of effort that is re-allocated to the Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska as a result of the 2011 actions will be estimated. This information will provide insight into whether this shift in effort is likely to have adversely impacted the vessels that have historically fished primarily or only in the Bering Sea. A draft manuscript is under internal peer review at AFSC and will soon be submitted to peer-reviewed journal.

+ Climate Change and Location Choice in the Pacific Cod Longline Fishery

Alan Haynie and Lisa Pfeiffer

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Pacific cod is an economically important groundfish that is targeted by trawl, pot, and longline gear in waters off Alaska. An important sector of the fishery is the “freezer longliner” segment of the Bering Sea which in 2008 accounted for $220 million of the Pacific cod first wholesale value of $435 million. These vessels are catcher/processors, meaning that fish caught are processed and frozen in a factory onboard the ship.

A dramatic shift in the timing and location of winter season fishing has occurred in the fishery since 2000. This shift is related to the extent of seasonal sea ice, as well as the timing of its descent and retreat. The presence of winter ice cover restricts access to a portion of the fishing grounds. Sea ice also affects relative spatial catch per unit effort by causing a cold pool (water less than 2°C that persists into the summer) that Pacific cod avoid. The cold pool is larger in years characterized by a large and persistent sea ice extent. Finally, climate conditions and sea ice may have lagged effects on harvesters’ revenue through their effect on recruitment, survival, total biomass, and the distribution of size and age classes. Different sizes of cod are processed into products destined for district markets. The availability and location of different size classes of cod, as well as the demand for these products, affects expected revenue and harvesters’ decisions about where to fish.

Understanding the relationship between fishing location and climate variables is essential in predicting the effects of future warming on the Pacific cod fishery. Seasonal sea ice is projected to decrease by 40% by 2050, which will have implications for the location and timing of fishing in the Bering Sea Pacific cod longline fishery. Our research indicates that warmer years have resulted in lower catch rates and greater travel costs, a pattern which we anticipate will continue in future warmer years. This manuscript is being revised and will be submitted to a scientific journal in December 2016.

+ Using Vessel Monitoring System Data to Estimate Spatial Effort in Bering Sea Fisheries for Unobserved Trips

Alan Haynie and Jordan Watson

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A primary challenge of marine resource management is monitoring where and when fishing occurs. This is important for both the protection and efficient harvest of targeted fisheries. Vessel monitoring system (VMS) technology records the time, location, bearing, and speed for vessels. VMS equipment has been employed on vessels in many fisheries around the world and VMS data has been used in enforcement, but a limited amount of work has been done utilizing VMS data to improve estimates of fishing activity. This paper utilizes VMS and an unusually large volume of government observer-reported data from the United States Eastern Bering Sea pollock fishery to predict the times and locations at which fishing occurs on trips without observers onboard. We employ a variety of techniques and specifications to improve model performance and out-of-sample prediction and find a generalized additive model that includes speed and change in bearing to be the best formulation for predicting fishing. We assess spatial correlation in the residuals of the chosen model, but find no correlation after taking into account other VMS predictors. We compare fishing effort to predictions for vessels with full observer coverage for 2003-2010 and compare predicted and observer-reported activity for observed trips. In this project, we have worked to address challenges that result from missing observations in the VMS data, which occur frequently and present modeling complications. We conclude with a discussion of policy considerations. Results of this work will be published in a scientific journal. We are also working with the NMFS Alaska Regional Office to attempt to improve the Region’s spatial effort database and we will extend the model to other fisheries.

+ Using Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Data to Identify and Characterize Trips made by Bering Sea Fishing Vessels

Jordan Watson and Alan Haynie

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Catch per unit effort (CPUE) is among the most common metrics for describing commercial fisheries. However, CPUE is a relatively fish-centric unit that fails to convey the actual effort expended by fishers to capture their prey. By resolving characteristics of entire fishing trips, in addition to their CPUE, a broader picture of fishers’ actual effort can be exposed. Furthermore, in the case of unobserved fishing, trip start and end times may be required in order to estimate CPUE from effort models and landings data. In this project, we utilize vessel monitoring system (VMS) data to reconstruct individual trips made by catcher vessels in the Eastern Bering Sea fishery for walleye pollock (Gadus chalcogrammus) from 2003 – 2013. Our algorithm implements a series of speed, spatial and temporal filters to determine when vessels leave and return to port. We then employ another set of spatial filters and a probabilistic model to characterize vessel trips as fishing versus non-fishing. Once trips are identified and characterized, we summarize the durations of trips and the distances traveled -- metrics that can be subsequently used to characterize changes in fleet behaviors over time. This approach establishes a baseline of trip behaviors and will provide an improved understanding of how fisheries are impacted by management actions, changing economics, and environmental change. A publication on trip-identification algorithm is forthcoming in PLOS ONE and an additional manuscript will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal.

Watson, J.T. and A.C. Haynie. 2016. “Using vessel monitoring system data to identify and characterize trips made by fishing vessels in the United States North Pacific.” In Press. PLOS ONE.

+ Bioeconomic Models of North Pacific Crab Stocks to Analyze Effects of Market Variability and Climate-Oceanographic Change

Mike Dalton, Brian Garber-Yonts, and Andr´e Punt

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Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) is the default reference point in U.S. fisheries management.However the Magnuson-Stevens Act defines optimum yield in National Standard 1 as the amount of fish that provides the greatest overall benefit to the nation, which could deviate from MSY because of economic (or other) factors. While it has long been recognized that MSY is not in general an economic optimum, estimates of maximum economic yield (MEY) are not typically reported in fishery management plans, presumably because of data limitations on economic costs related to fishing. Furthermore, uncertainty is a fundamental feature of the environment in which fishermen and processors make decisions. Coupled bioeconomic models are being developed to analyze effects of market variability and changes in climate-ocean conditions on North Pacific crab stocks. The first bioeconomic model that was developed consisted of a population dynamics model for the Eastern Bering Sea snow crab stock (BSS) coupled to an economic dynamics model, which was calibrated to revenue and cost data from the BSAI Crab EDR database. The second bioeconomic model is similar to the first, but applied to the Bristol Bay red king crab stock (BBR). To evaluate impacts of ocean acidification on the BBR stock, this second model was extended with an explicit stage structured pre-recruitment component that was calibrated to results of exposure experiments conducted at the AFSC Kodiak lab. The third model coupled the BBR and BSS bioeconomic models to estimate joint maximum economic yield. A new project for 2012-13 at the University of Washington’s Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere will develop a bioeconomic model for the Bering Sea tanner crab (BST) stock, including a pre-recruitment component. The BST bioeconomic model will be coupled with BBR and BSS bioeconomic models, and used to forecast effects of ocean acidification. The development of a bioeconomic model for Aleutian Islands golden king crab is planned for future research.

Models with Interactions Across Species

+ Optimal Multi-species Harvesting in Ecologically and Economically Interdependent Fisheries

Stephen Kasperski

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Single-species management of multi-species fisheries ignores ecological interactions in addition to important economic interactions to the detriment of the health of the ecosystem, the stocks of fish species, and fishery profits. This study uses a model to maximize the net present value from a multispecies groundfish fishery in the Bering Sea where species interact ecologically in the ecosystem, and economically through vessels’ multi-product harvesting technology, switching gear types, and interactions in output markets. Numerical optimization techniques are used to determine the optimal harvest quota of each species over time. This study highlights the need to incorporate both ecological and economic interactions that occur between species in an ecosystem.

This study uses the arrowtooth flounder, Pacific cod, and walleye pollock fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region off Alaska as a case study and finds the net present value of the three-species fishery is over $20.7 billion dollars in the multispecies model, over $5 billion dollars more than the net present value of the single species model. This is a function of the interdependence among species that affects other species growth. Because arrowtooth negatively impacts the growth of cod and pollock, substantially increasing the harvest of arrowtooth to decrease its stock is optimal in the multispecies model as it leads to increased growth and therefore greater potential harvests of cod and pollock. The single species model does not incorporate the feedback among species, and therefore assumes each species is unaffected by the stock rise or collapse of the others. The vessels in this fishery are also shown to exhibit cost anti-complementarities among species, which implies that harvesting multiple species jointly is more costly than catching them independently. As approaches for ecosystem-based fisheries management are developed, the results demonstrate the importance of focusing not only on the economically valuable species interact, but also on some non-harvested species, as they can affect the productivity and availability of higher value species. A paper describing this project was published in Environmental and Resource Economics (Kasperski 2015).

Kasperski, S. 2015. “Optimal Multi-species Harvesting in Ecologically and Economically Interdependent Fisheries” Environmental and Resource Economics 61(4): 517-557.

+ Optimal Multispecies Harvesting in the Presence of a Nuisance Species

Stephen Kasperski

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The need for ecosystem based fisheries management is well recognized, but substantial obstacles remain in implementing these approaches given our current understanding of the biological complexities of the ecosystem and the economic complexities surrounding resource use. This study develops a multispecies bioeconomic model that incorporates ecological and economic interactions to estimate the optimal catch and stock size for each species in the presence of a nuisance species. The nuisance species lowers the value of the fishery by negatively affecting the growth of the other species in the ecosystem, and has little harvest value of its own. This study empirically estimates multispecies surplus production growth functions for each species and uses these parameters to explore the impact of a nuisance species on the management of this ecosystem. Multiproduct cost functions are estimated for each gear type in addition to a count data model to predict the optimal number of trips each vessel takes. These functions are used, along with the estimated stock dynamics equations, to determine the optimal multispecies quotas and subsidy on the harvest of the nuisance species to maximize the total value of this three species fishery.

This study uses the arrowtooth flounder, Pacific cod, and walleye pollock fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands region off Alaska as a case study and finds the net present value of the fishery is decreased from $20.7 billion to $8.5 billion dollars by ignoring arrowtooth’s role as a nuisance species on the growth of Pacific cod and walleye pollock. The optimal subsidy on the harvest of arrowtooth summed over all years is $35 million dollars, which increases the net present value by $273 million dollars, after accounting for the subsidy. As arrowtooth flounder is a low value species and has a large negative impact on the growth of cod and pollock, it is optimal to substantially increase the harvesting of arrowtooth, lowering its population which results in increased growth and harvesting in the two profitable fisheries. Ignoring the role of the nuisance species results in a substantially less productive and lower value fishery than if all three species are managed optimally. This study highlights the role of both biological and technological interactions in multispecies or ecosystem approaches for management, as well as the importance of incorporating the impacts non-harvested species can have on the optimal harvesting policies in an ecosystem. The paper describing these results was published in Marine Policy.

Kasperski, S. 2015. “Optimal Multispecies Harvesting in the Presence of a Nuisance Species” Marine Policy 64: 55-63.

Regional Economic Modeling

+ Collecting Borough and Census Area Level Data for Regional Economic Modeling of Alaska Fisheries

Chang Seung

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Most regional economic models developed for North Pacific fisheries are designed to depict either the whole state (i.e., Alaska) or an administrative region (e.g., the Southeast region). While these models are designed to calculate the impacts of fishery management actions on relatively large regions, they may not as accurately represent impacts on smaller, fishing-dependent areas such as boroughs, census areas or “fishing communities”. Therefore, results from these large models may be less useful for fishery managers, policy makers and other parties interested in illustrating impacts on specific communities, especially ones with very unique economic structures. No existing study has yet developed models designed to estimate impacts on individual fishing-dependent communities in Alaska.

To develop borough and census area (BCA)-level models, we, as a first step, completed collection of regional economic data for six BCAs comprising the Southwest Alaska region. We did this because the seafood industry data from IMPLAN is generally not reliable. We conducted (i) vessel surveys where we collected information on expenditures and employment from fish harvesting vessels, (ii) informal interviews with shoreside processors for similar information, and (iii) informal interviews with local businesses for data on their sales to seafood industries. In addition to this information, we also obtained data on the geographical distribution of vessel expenditures through the vessel surveys.

These data combined with the basic regional economic structure for each BCA from IMPLAN will be used to develop regional economic models such as social accounting matrix (SAM) and/or computable general equilibrium (CGE) models for each of the fishing-dependent BCAs in the Southwest region. The models will be able to calculate BCA-level impacts of fishery management issues. With information collected on the location of input purchases, we will also be able to estimate impacts transmitted to the remainder of Alaska and to West Coast states. The resulting models will provide more accurate and targeted measures of impacts for fishery managers, policy makers and other parties interested in understanding the effects of fishery policies and other environmental shocks (such as climate change) on fishing dependent communities in Alaska.

For the next step, we recently published a request for proposals (RFP) in order to find the most qualified contractor(s) who can assemble the data set (i.e., SAMs), and develop the regional economic models including both single region and multi-regional models.

+ Estimating the Economic Impact of Non-resident Anglers’ Saltwater Sportfishing Harvest Restrictions in Alaska: a Multi-regional CGE Analysis

Chang Seung and Dan Lew

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Most previous studies of economic impacts related to recreational fishing use a single-region economic impact model, such as social accounting matrix (SAM) model or computable general equilibrium model (CGE). However, the limitation of the single-region model is that it fails to capture the economic impacts occurring outside of the region where the initial policy shock is given. In this study, we use a multi-regional CGE (MRCGE) model to calculate the multi-regional economic impacts of various harvest limits imposed on several important recreational fishing species in Alaska waters targeted by non-resident Alaska anglers. In so doing, we use a stated preference model of saltwater sportfishing participation to estimate changes in participation arising from changes in harvest limits for Pacific halibut (Hippoglossus stenoleptis), chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), and coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch). We then use a MRCGE model to calculate the economic impacts of these bag limit changes that occur in Alaska, West Coast, and the Rest of the US. Preliminary results indicate that the economic impacts occurring in the three regions depend on the assumption regarding how the changes in non-resident anglers’ spending from changes in the bag limits are spent in the three regions. The MRCGE model has been refined, and a manuscript presenting the model and results has been submitted to a journal.

+ Assessing alternative management strategies for eastern Bering Sea walleye pollock Fishery with climate change

Chang Seung and James Ianelli

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Recent studies indicate that rising sea surface temperature (SST) may have negative impacts on eastern Bering Sea walleye pollock stock productivity. A previous study (Ianelli et al. 2011) developed projections of the pollock stock and alternative harvest policies for the species, and examined how the alternative policies perform for the pollock stock with a changing environment. The study, however, failed to evaluate quantitative economic impacts. The present study showcases how quantitative evaluations of the regional economic impacts can be applied with results evaluating harvest policy trade-offs; an important component of management strategy evaluations. In this case, we couple alternative harvest policy simulations (with and without climate change) with a regional dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model for Alaska. In this example we found (i) that the status quo policy performed less well than the alternatives (from the perspective of economic benefit), (ii) more conservative policies had smaller regional output and economic welfare impacts (with and without considering climate change), and (iii) a policy allowing harvests to be less constrained performed worse in terms of impacts on total regional output, economic welfare, and real gross regional product (RGRP), and in terms of variability of the pollock industry output.

Ianelli, J., A. Hollowed, A. Haynie, F. Mueter, and N. Bond. 2011. Evaluating management strategies for eastern Bering Sea walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma) in a changing environment. ICES Journal of Marine Science 68(6): 1297–1304.

+ Coupling Bioeconomic Model and Regional Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) Model for Alaska Crab Fisheries

Michael Dalton, Andr’e Punt, and Chang Seung

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A comprehensive two-stock bioeconomic model for Bristol Bay red king crab (BBR) and Eastern Bering Sea Snow Crab (BSS) was developed with support from NOAA Fisheries Office of Science and Technology, and NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Increases in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, caused primarily by fossil fuel emissions and deforestation, has led to corresponding increases in oceanic CO2 concentrations, and hence, changes in carbonate chemistry of the oceans and decreases in ocean pH. As CO2 levels continue to rise over the coming decades, the pH in the ocean will fall even further. This trend could have substantial physiological effects on marine organisms, affecting growth, survival, reproduction, and behavior. Calcifying organisms may be particularly affected because the reduction in pH makes it more difficult to excrete and sustain a calcified shell or exoskeleton.

Most of the management strategies developed for fish and invertebrate species in the U.S. and elsewhere are predicated on the assumption that the productivity of the resources remains constant over long time periods. This assumption is likely to be violated by the impact of ocean acidification. However, the impact of such violation is poorly understood generally, and for North Pacific crab fisheries in particular. The ideal tool to explore the biological and economic impacts of ocean acidification is a bio-economic modeling framework which a) integrates predictions regarding trends over time in ocean pH; b) separates life-history stages for growth and mortality of juveniles and adults; and c) includes fishery impacts by analyzing catch and effort in both biological and economic terms. In this model, a size-structured population dynamics model component for larger animals is coupled to a stage-structured model component for smaller animals that have not been recruited into the fishery (i.e., “pre-recruits”). Including an explicit pre-recruit component is unusual in population dynamics models, and it is used in the new king crab bio-economic model to represent the impacts of ocean acidification on pre-recruit life-history stages. These impacts are the subject of ongoing laboratory experiments with juvenile crabs, and data from these experiments will be used to parameterize the pre-recruit component of the new bio-economic model.

The crab bioeconomic model has been completed for BBR, and was coupled with a regional CGE model which was recently developed. The coupled model was used to calculate the impacts of the ocean acidification on the economy of the region depending on the fisheries, including the impacts on industry output, value added, and household income for the state of Alaska. CGE model outcomes from yield projections based on two alternative forms (linear versus nonlinear) of ocean acidification effects on the survival of juvenile BBR are compared to a baseline without ocean acidification effects. Results demonstrate considerable uncertainty in projections of yields, and show that economic impacts are sensitive to the form of ocean acidification effects, and to changes in the world price of BBR. The next step is to conduct similar study for BSS.

Socioeconomic, Cultural and Community Analyses

+ The Regional and Community Size Distribution of Fishing Revenues in the North Pacific

Chris Anderson, Jennifer Meredith, and Ron Felthoven

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The North Pacific fisheries generate close to $2 billion in first wholesale revenues annually. However, the analysis supporting management plans focuses on describing the flow of these monies through each fishery (e.g., NOAA AFSC 2013), rather than across the individual cities and states in which harvesters live and spend their fishing returns. In the last two decades North Pacific fisheries have undergone a series of management changes aimed at ensuring healthy and sustainable profits for those participating in harvesting and processing, and healthy fish stocks. The formation of effective cooperatives and rationalization programs that have been designed by harvesters and processors support an economically successful industry. However, a variety of narratives have emerged about the distributional effects of these management changes, and in particular their effects on the participation of people in coastal communities in the North Pacific.

Previous work has adopted a variety of perspectives to establish the effects of a changing fishing industry in the North Pacific. Carothers (2008) focuses on individual communities in the Aleutian islands and argues that shifts in the processing industry, away from small canneries in strongly place-identified communities, are exacerbated by rationalization that monetizes historical fishing access and draws fishing activity out of small communities when fishermen fall under duress. Carothers et al. (2010) adopts a state-wide perspective on a single fishery, and finds that small fishing communities as a category were more likely to divest of halibut IFQ in the years immediately following the creation of the program. Sethi et al. (2014) propose a suite of rapid assessment community-level indicators that integrate across fisheries, and identify that Alaskan communities are affected by trends of reduced fishery participation and dependence, characterized by fewer fishermen who participate in fewer fisheries and growth in other sectors of the economy during 1980-2010. However, they also observe that this effect is primarily distributional, as total fishing revenues within communities are stable and increasing.

This study contributes by providing a regional overview of the benefits from North Pacific fishing, looking beyond the changes in any particular community or any particular fishery. It seeks to describe the regions to which revenues from North Pacific fisheries are accruing, whether that distribution has changed significantly over the last decade, and how any changes might be caused or affected by management. This is important because managers or stakeholders may have preferences over the distribution of benefits within their jurisdiction, and while the movement of fishing activity out of communities is frequently the focus of academic and policy research, research focusing on single communities often does not follow where those benefits go. Of particular interest is whether movement of North Pacific fishery revenues is dominated by movement within coastal Alaska, or primarily shifts away from coastal communities to other regions outside of Alaska.

Carothers, C., D. Lew and J. Sepez. 2010. Fishing Rights and Small Communities: Alaska Halibut IFQ Transfer Patterns. Ocean & Coastal Management: 53:518-23.

Carothers, C. 2008. “Rationalized Out”: Discourses and Realities of Fisheries Privatization in Kodiak, Alaska. In Lowe, M. and C. Carothers, ed. Enclosing the Fisheries: People, Places, and Power.” American Fisheries Society, Symposium 69.

NOAA AFSC. 2014. “Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Report for the Groundfish Fisheries of the Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Area: Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries Off Alaska 2012.” 379 pp.

Sethi, S., W. Riggs, G. Knapp. 2014. “Metrics to Monitor the Status of Fishing Communities: An Alaska State of the State Retrospective 1980-2010.” Ocean & Coastal Management: 88:21-30.

+ Social Baseline of the Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Trawl Fishery: Results of the 2014 Social Survey

Amber Himes-Cornell and Stephen Kasperski

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The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) is considering the implementation of a new bycatch management program for the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) groundfish trawl fishery. Any change in how the fishery is managed will likely affect the people and communities participating in the fishery. In anticipation of such changes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) Alaska Fisheries Science Center developed and implemented a survey to collect baseline information about the social dimensions of the fishery in 2014. Data were collected before program implementation in order to provide a baseline description of the industry as well as allow for analysis of changes the bycatch management program may bring for individuals and communities once implemented. A similar data collection is planned to occur in the year prior to program implementation in order to capture social changes in the fishery occurring during program development and to provide a second comparison baseline prior to implementation. Having a detailed baseline description will allow for a greater understanding of the social impacts the program may have on the individuals and communities affected by the new management program. When combined with data to be collected in planned post-program implementation follow-up surveys, this information will inform changes in the social characteristics over time and assist in a more comprehensive program evaluation and more informed consideration of potential post-implementation modifications of the program, if needed.

A survey instrument was developed to gather data on the social dimensions of the fishery. The survey was available in-person with field researchers in Kodiak, Seattle, King Cove, and Sand Point or for participants to take online, or over the phone. We conducted the survey with participants in the GOA groundfish trawl fishery, including vessel owners, vessel operators, crew aboard groundfish vessels, catcher/processor owners, catcher/processor crew, shoreside and inshore floating processors, tender owners and operators, and other individuals who are stakeholders in the trawl fishery including any businesses that are directly tied to the groundfish trawl industry through the supply of commercial items to include, but not limited to gear suppliers, fuel suppliers, and equipment suppliers. Overall, approximately 50% (n = 1,569) of people directly involved in the GOA groundfish trawl fishery participated in the survey.

The results of the survey highlight the differences in the people, sectors, and communities engaged in the fishery. For example, an average, CV owners were found to be 57.2 years old while skippers were 49.2 and crew were 37.8 years old on average. Additionally, participants reported that a significant amount of their spouses or partners participate in the fishing industry in some way. This suggests that the effects of management changes may extend beyond direct fishery participants. There is a wide range of number of years respondents have been participating in commercial fishing or processing. CV owners started working on average at 16 years old and have 39.8 years of experience. CV skippers started working at 17.8 years old and have 30 years of experience. CV crew started working at 18.5 years old and have 18.4 years of experience. Additionally, the majority of respondents only have one job and are therefore very tied to fishing.

A NOAA Tech Memo summarizes the project and results.

Himes-Cornell, A., S. Kasperski, K. Kent, C. Maguire, M. Downs, S. Weidlich, and S. Russell. 2015. “Social baseline of the Gulf of Alaska groundfish trawl fishery: Results of the 2014 social survey.” U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-306, 98 p. plus Appendices.

+ Perceptions of Measures to Affect Active Participation, Lease Rates and Crew Compensation in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Crab Fisheries

Amber Himes-Cornell

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In 2010 the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) completed a 5-year review of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Rationalization Program. The review highlighted a suite of social concerns that have emerged in the fishery since the management change. The central issues perceived by the NPFMC were that lease rates are being charged against crew pay, the difficulty for skippers and crew to purchase quota shares, and concerns about quota ownership by people or entities that do not have a financial stake in a vessel. The NPFMC initiated discussion and analyses on these issues and ultimately decided to encourage the crab fleet to address the issues through voluntary measures. The crab cooperatives developed measures to address the NPFMC’s concerns, which were implemented in 2013. The measures include the Right of First Offer (ROFO) program, which gives skippers and crew an initial opportunity to purchase quota shares, and a voluntary lease rate cap for two of the eight crab fisheries. The National Marine Fisheries Service’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center developed a study in 2014 to gather perspectives on the cooperative measures from fishery participants.

This study involved interviews with a diverse group of participants in the BSAI crab fisheries where their perceptions on measures to affect access to quota shares, active participation, and lease rates were discussed. A total of 220 individuals across 6 participant categories shared their perspectives. These individuals contributed to a response rate of 25.9% of the total population of participants in these fisheries; however, the overall response rate excluding crew was 45.1%, representing individuals from 87.2% of the active vessels in the BSAI crab fisheries in 2012.

Overall, the individuals that were interviewed spoke to many reasons why skippers and crewmembers are not, as a majority, purchasing quota shares. The reasons relate to the price of quota shares, the lack of availability of shares, a lack of knowledge to navigate the system, and misgivings about the time commitment to pay off an investment and remain committed to the fisheries. These perceptions and opinions are ultimately affecting the lack of use of the ROFO program. Several interviewees related the lack of availability back to the minimal active participation requirements of the program. A majority of participants stated that they perceive a need for more extensive active participation requirements in the fishery. Interviewees related this opinion back to their understanding of the risk sharing between those who own the quota and those who harvest the quota. The minimal active participation requirements in the program have allowed an extensive leasing culture in the fishery and the specific goals of the lease rate cap are not widely understood by interview participants. There is considerable sentiment among those who were interviewed that compliance with the caps is at best less than complete. Given this, the free rider problem has the possibility of eroding the current level of compliance over time. In general, many interviewees held negative views of the leasing market and were distrusting of their fellow participants likelihood of long-term compliance with a voluntary measure.

This study is an important step forward in incorporating the views of participants in the BSAI crab fisheries into the management of those fisheries. It provides an important complement to the fisheries’ economic data collection program and provides context for the quantitative data available on the operation of the fisheries. More importantly, it provides a voice to the people involved in the fishery and brings to light information about how those individuals understand and experience issues that have been a central discussion topic at the NPFMC over recent years. Specifically, the results of this study highlight underlying issues in the crab fisheries that seem to be driving the perceived issues with access to quota shares, lease rates, and active participation; issues that are not addressed by the current voluntary cooperative measures. Additionally, it suggests areas for future research that will ultimately better inform managers about how to more effectively address these social goals.

A NOAA Tech Memo summarizing the project and results was completed in 2015 (Himes-Cornell, 2015).

Himes-Cornell, A. 2015. Industry perceptions of measures to affect access to quota shares, active participation, and lease rates in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands crab fisheries. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-304, 69 p.

+ Tools to Explore Alaska Fishing Communities

Amber Himes-Cornell

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Community profiles have been produced for fishing communities throughout the state of Alaska in order to meet the requirements of National Standard 8 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and provide a necessary component of the social impact assessment process for fisheries management actions. These profiles provide detailed information on elements of each fishing community, including location, demographics, history, infrastructure, governance, facilities, and involvement in state and federal fisheries targeting commercial, recreational and subsistence resources. A total of 196 communities from around Alaska were profiled as part of this effort.

However, these profiles are static and require manual updates as more recent data become available. In order to address this in a more effective way, social scientists in the AFSC Economic and Social Science Research Program have developed two web-based tools to provide the public with information on communities in Alaska: fisheries data maps and community snapshots. There are three distinct fisheries data maps providing a time series on community participation in commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing. The community snapshots take the pulse of Alaskan fishing communities using information about their fishing involvement and demographic characteristics. Each snapshot provides information on:

  • What commercial species are landed and processed in the community;
  • The number of crew licenses held by residents;
  • The characteristics of fishing vessels based in the community;
  • Processing capacity;
  • Participation in recreational fishing (including both charter businesses and individual anglers);
  • Subsistence harvesting dependence;
  • Demographic attributes of the community (including educational attainment, occupations by industry, unemployment, median household income, poverty, median age, sex by age, ethnicity and race, and language and marginalization);
  • Social vulnerability indices (These indices represent social factors that can shape either an individual or community’s ability to adapt to change. These factors exist within all communities regardless of the importance of fishing. The indices include: Poverty, Population Composition, Personal Disruption, and Housing Disruption.); and
  • Fishing engagement and reliance indices (These indices portray the importance or level of dependence of commercial or recreational fishing to coastal communities. The indices include: Commercial Engagement, Commercial Reliance, Recreational Engagement and Recreational Reliance

These web-based tools are updated as new data become available and currently include the years in parentheses below.

+ Developing Comparable Socio-economic Indices of Fishing Community Vulnerability and Resilience for the Contiguous US and Alaska

Amber Himes-Cornell and Stephen Kasperski

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The ability to understand the vulnerability of fishing communities is critical to understanding how regulatory change will be absorbed into multifaceted communities that exist within a larger coastal economy. Creating social indices of vulnerability for fishing communities provides a pragmatic approach toward standardizing data and analysis to assess some of the long term effects of management actions. Over the past several years, social scientists working in NOAA Fisheries’ Regional Offices and Science Centers have been engaged in the development of indices for evaluating aspects of fishing community vulnerability and resilience to be used in the assessment of the social impacts of proposed fishery management plans and actions (Colburn and Jepson, 2012; Himes-Cornell and Kasperski, 2015). These indices are standardized across geographies, and quantify conditions which contribute to, or detract from, the ability of a community to react positively towards change. National-level indicators for all U.S. coastal communities can be found using the “Explore the Indicator Map” link from the main NMFS social indicators webpage.

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) has compiled socio-economic and fisheries data for over 300 communities in Alaska and developed developed indices specific to Alaska communities (Himes-Cornell and Kasperski, 2016) using the same methodology as Jepson and Colburn (2013). To the extent feasible, the same sources of data are being used in order to allow comparability between regions. However, comparisons indicated that resource, structural and infrastructural differences between the NE and SE and Alaska require modifications of each of the indices to make them strictly comparable. The analysis used for Alaska was modified to reflect these changes. The data are being analyzed using principal components factor analysis (PCFA), which allows us to separate out the most important socio-economic and fisheries related factors associated with community vulnerability and resilience in Alaska within a statistical framework.

These indices are intended to improve the analytical rigor of fisheries Social Impact Assessments, through adherence to National Standard 8 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act, and Executive Order 12898 on Environmental Justice in components of Environmental Impact Statements. Given the often short time frame in which such analyses are conducted, an advantage to this approach is that the majority of the data used to construct these indices are readily accessible secondary data and can be compiled quickly to create measures of social vulnerability and to update community profiles.

Although the indices are useful in providing an inexpensive, quick, and reliable way of assessing potential vulnerabilities, they often lack external reliability. Establishing validity on a community level is required to ensure indices are grounded in reality and not merely products of the data used to create them. However, achieving this requires an unrealistic amount of ethnographic fieldwork once time and budget constraints are considered. To address this, a rapid and streamlined groundtruthing methodology was developed to confirm external validity from a set of 13 sample communities selected based on shared characteristics and logistic feasibility (Himes Cornell, et al. 2016). This qualitative data was used to test the construct validity of the quantitative well-being indices. Specifically, this methodology used a test of convergent validity: in theory, the quantitative indices should be highly correlated with the qualitative measure. This comparison helps us understand how well the estimated well-being indices represent real-world conditions observed by researchers. Study findings suggest that some index components exhibit a high degree of construct validity based on high correlations between the quantitative and qualitative measures, while other components will require refinement prior to their application in fisheries decision-making. Further, the results provides substantial evidence for the importance of groundtruthing quantitative indices so they may be better calibrated to reflect the communities they seek to measure.

Groundtruthing the results using this type of methodology will facilitate use of the indices by the AFSC, NOAA’s Alaska Regional Office, and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council staff to analyze the comparative vulnerability of fishing communities across Alaska to proposed fisheries management regulations, in accordance with NS8. This research will provide policymakers with an objective and data driven approach to support effective management of North Pacific fisheries.

Colburn, L.L. and M. Jepson. 2012. “Social Indicators of Gentrification Pressure in Fishing Communities: A Context for Social Impact Assessment.” Coastal Management 40:289-300.

Himes-Cornell, A., and S. Kasperski. 2015. "Assessing climate change vulnerability in Alaska's fishing communities." Fisheries Research 162: 1-11.

Himes-Cornell, A. and S. Kasperski. 2016. “Using Socio-Economic and Fisheries Involvement Indices to Better Understand Alaska Fishing Community Well-being.” Coastal Management 44(1): 36-70.

Himes-Cornell, A., C. Maguire, S. Kasperski, K. Hoelting, and R. Pollnac. 2016. “Understanding vulnerability in Alaska fishing communities: A validation methodology for rapid assessment of well-being indices”. Ocean and Coastal Management 124: 53-65.

Jepson, M. and L.L. Colburn. 2013. “Development of Social Indicators of Fishing Community Vulnerability and Resilience in the U.S. Southeast and Northeast Regions.” NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-129, April 2013.

Catch Shares Programs and Quota Markets

+ What Lessons Do Non-Fisheries Tradable Permit Programs Have for the Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan?

Dan Lew and Isabel Call

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To address long-standing allocation conflicts between the Pacific halibut commercial fishing sector and recreational charter (for-hire) sector in Alaska, an Alaska halibut catch sharing plan (CSP) was implemented in 2014 that has a provision allowing the leasing of commercial individual fishing quota to recreational charter businesses. This one-way inter-sectoral trading allows for the charter sector to increase its share of the total allowable catch while compensating commercial fishermen. In this work, we examine the literature on non-fisheries tradable permit programs (TPPs) that have similarities to the Alaska halibut CSP program. Several successful TPPs are discussed, including ones from emissions trading programs, water quality trading programs, water markets, and transferable development rights programs. They are then evaluated in terms of their similarities and differences to the Alaska CSP program. Characteristics not part of the current CSP that other TPPs have used and that may increase the likelihood for the CSP to be effective in achieving its primary goals (if they are implemented) are identified, such as allowing more flexible transfers (e.g., internal transfers), intertemporal banking, cooperative structures, and multi-year leasing. The paper (Call and Lew 2015) has been published in Marine Policy.

Call, I., and D.K. Lew. 2014. “Tradable permit programs: What are the lessons for the new Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan?” Forthcoming in Marine Policy.

+ Understanding Charter Halibut Permit Holders’ Preferences, Attitudes, and Behavior Under the Alaska Halibut Catch Sharing Plan

Dan Lew

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The Alaska charter boat sector has undergone significant change in recent years due, at least in part, to regulatory changes in the management of the Pacific halibut sport fishery. To control growth of the charter sector in the primary recreational charter boat fishing areas off Alaska, a limited entry program was implemented in 2011 (75 Federal Register 554). In addition, in the past several years, charter vessel operators in Southeast Alaska (International Pacific Halibut Commission [IPHC] Area 2C) and Southcentral Alaska (Area 3A) have been subject to harvest controls that impose both size and bag limits on the catch of Pacific halibut on guided fishing trips, with these limits being more restrictive than the regulations for non-guided trips (e.g., 78 Federal Register 16425). Most recently, a Halibut Catch Sharing Plan (CSP) was implemented during 2014 that formalizes the process (a) of allocating catch between the commercial and charter sector and (b) for evaluating changes to harvest restrictions (78 FR 75843). Importantly, the CSP allows leasing of commercial halibut individual fishing quota (IFQ) by eligible charter businesses. Leased halibut IFQ (called guided angler fish, or GAF) could then be used by charter businesses to relax harvest restrictions for their angler clients, since GAF fish would not be subject to the charter sector-specific size and bag limits that may be imposed—though the non-charter sector size and bag limit restrictions (currently two fish of any size per day) would still apply to charter anglers individually.

Under the initial rules for the IFQ leasing program, henceforth the GAF leasing program, several restrictions are placed on the use of GAF, including the following:

  1. Single-season use. GAF must be used before the end of the season for which it is leased, with automatic returns if the GAF is unused by a certain date (15 days before the end of the commercial fishing season).
  2. No transfers. GAF can’t be transferred between CHP holders during the season.

The restrictions listed above are features that are sometimes relaxed in other IFQ (or, more generally, tradable permit) programs to increase flexibility for participants. Recent research has shown that the restrictions imposed on transfers within IFQ markets can have significant effects on economic efficiency and other goals (e.g., Kroetz et al. 2014).

To inform decision makers about the likely impacts of relaxing program features such as those above, as well as other programs that may be considered by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council), AFSC developed and implemented a survey that collects data from eligible participants in the IFQ leasing market to determine their attitudes towards, and behavior in, the lease market and attitudes and preferences towards alternative programs. The survey was developed during 2013 and 2014 with input from staff from the Council, NMFS Alaska Region, and ADF&G, and was qualitatively pretested with members from the target population (Alaska charter halibut permit holders). It was implemented in 2015, and the data are summarized in a NOAA Technical Memorandum (Lew et al. 2016).

Kroetz, K., J.N. Sanchirico, and D.K. Lew (2015). “Efficiency Costs of Social Objectives in Tradable Permit Programs.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 2(3): 339-366.

Lew, D.K., D. Putman, and D.M. Larson. 2016. “Attitudes and Preferences Toward Pacific Halibut Management Alternatives in the Saltwater Sport Fishing Charter Sector in Alaska: Results from a Survey of Charter Halibut Permit Holders.” U.S. Dept of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-326, 58 p. doi:10.7289/V5/TM-AFSC-326.

+ U.S. Catch Share Markets: A Review of Characteristics and Data Availability

Daniel Holland, Eric Thunberg, Juan Agar, Scott Crosson, Chad Demarest, Stephen Kasperski, Larry Perruso, Erin Steiner, Jessica Stephen, Andy Strelcheck, and Mike Travis

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A growing number of U.S. fisheries are managed with catch share systems, which allocate exclusive shares of the total allowable catch from a fish stock to individuals, cooperatives, communities, or other entities. All of these catch share programs allow transferability of catch privileges in some form. Information on these transfers, particularly prices, can be valuable to fishery managers and to fishery participants and other stakeholders. We document the availability and quality of data on transfers of catch privileges in fourteen U.S. catch share programs, including programs in every U.S. region except the Pacific Islands. The catch share programs reviewed include several individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs as well as a number of programs that allocate catch privileges to self-organized cooperatives. We provide a short synopsis of each catch share program and quota market including a short description of the fishery, the management system, and the rules for transferring quota share(QS) and quota pounds (QP). Each synopsis also includes a description of the information collected on QS and QP transfers and an evaluation of the availability and quality of QS and QP price information and other useful information that can be derived from transfer data. We do not attempt to evaluate the efficiency of any of the catch share markets, nor provide in-depth analysis of market data, but we do provide some evaluation of the potential to use catch share market data to provide useful information to stakeholders and managers. We make recommendations on how to improve the design of catch share systems and associated data collection systems to facilitate effective catch share markets, collection of catch share market data, and better use of information from catch share markets.

A manuscript describing this project has been published as a NOAA Tech Memo (Holland et al. 2014) and a shorter journal article was published in Marine Policy (Holland et al. 2015).

Holland, D., E. Thunberg, J. Agar, S. Crosson, C. Demarest, S. Kasperski, L. Perruso, E. Steiner, J. Stephen, A. Strelcheck, and M. Travis. 2014. U.S. Catch Share Markets: A Review of Characteristics and Data Availability. U.S. Dept. of Commer., NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-F/SPO-145, 67 p.

Holland, D.S., E. Thunberg, J. Agar, S. Crosson, C. Demarest, S. Kasperski, L. Perruso, E. Steiner, J. Stephen, A. Strelcheck, and M. Travis. 2015. “US Catch Share Markets: A Review of Data Availability and Impediments to Transparent Markets”. Marine Policy 57: 103-110.

+ Productivity Change in U.S. Catch Share Fisheries

John Walden, Juan Agar, Ron Felthoven, Abigail Harley, Stephen Kasperski, Jean Lee, Todd Lee, Aaron Mamula, Jessica Stephen, Andy Strelcheck, and Eric Thunberg

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In fisheries, productivity refers to the relationship between the quantity of fish produced and the quantity of inputs used to harvest fish. We are concerned with “multi-factor” productivity since fish are caught using multiple inputs such as capital (e.g. fishing vessels), crew, fuel, ice, bait, etc. A change in multi-factor productivity (MFP) measures changes in outputs and inputs between two time periods. MFP may improve either by harvesting more fish with the same amount of inputs or by harvesting the same amount of fish using fewer inputs. By ending the “race to fish” catch share programs may be expected to lead to improved productivity through the ability to better plan harvesting activities to change the mix of outputs and/or make better use of capital and other inputs. Productivity gains may also be obtained through the transfer of quota from less to more efficient vessels.

Annual MFP was estimated for a total of 20 catch share programs or sub-components of catch share programs using the Lowe index. Of the 20 programs, 13 included pre-catch share baseline conditions. In 10 of 13 cases, MFP improved during the first three years after program implementation. These productivity gains were maintained in all six catch share programs that have been in existence since at least 2007, and MFP continued to substantially improve in five of six longer-term programs after the first three years of program implementation.

Ideally MFP would be estimated using full information on inputs including capital, labor, energy, materials, and services. In 11 of the 20 fisheries evaluated in this report available data were limited to capital and labor. Analysis of the 9 programs that included energy and the 5 programs that also included materials found that energy made a larger contribution to estimated MFP as compared to capital and labor alone or to specifications including only capital, labor, and materials. This suggests that new data collection or new methods to estimate fuel use may be a priority in improving estimation of MFP in future studies.

The biomass index plays an important role in characterizing changes in MFP in catch share programs, as biomass changes may affect the catchability of fish and thus harvesting productivity. However, obtaining biomass data was a time consuming process, and in some cases, required a stock-by-stock evaluation of the reliability of the biomass information that was available. In most instances, biomass adjusted and biomass unadjusted measures of MFP were consistent in terms of productivity change relative to baseline conditions although, unadjusted MFP underestimates productivity change when biomass is declining and overestimates productivity change when biomass is increasing. The magnitude of the difference between unadjusted and adjusted MFP increases with the magnitude of the biomass trend. If the biomass trend is sufficiently large, then biomass unadjusted MFP may provide a false impression of change in MFP. This means that obtaining reliable biomass data will be important in any future updates to MFP in catch share fisheries conducted by NMFS.

A manuscript describing this project will soon be published as a NOAA Tech Memo.

Walden, J., J. Agar, R. Felthoven, A. Harley, S. Kasperski, J. Lee, T. Lee, A. Mamula, J. Stephen, A. Strelcheck, and E. Thunberg. 2014. Productivity Change in U.S. Catch Shares Fisheries. U.S. Dept. of Commer., NOAA Technical Memorandum NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-146, 137 p.

Thunberg, E., J. Walden, J. Agar, R. Felthoven, A. Harley, S. Kasperski, J. Lee, T. Lee, A. Mamula, J. Stephen, and A. Strelcheck. 2015. “Measuring Changes in Multi-Factor Productivity in U.S. Catch Share Fisheries”. Marine Policy 62: 294-301.

+ The Impact of Access Restrictions on Fishery Income Diversification of US West Coast Fishermen

Dan Holland and Stephen Kasperski

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Access to most fisheries on the US West Coast was essentially open prior to the mid-1970s when state licenses were first limited for salmon fisheries. Subsequently, licenses to most fisheries on the West Coast have been limited, and the numbers of licenses in many fisheries have been reduced with buyback programs. More recently, catch share programs, which dedicate exclusive shares of catch to individuals or cooperatives, have been introduced in several sectors of the federally managed Pacific groundfish fishery. As access to fisheries has become more restricted, revenue diversification of West Coast fishing vessels has generally declined. This is a source of concern, since diversification has been shown to reduce year-to-year variation in revenue and thus financial risk (Kasperski and Holland, 2013). However, catch share programs may create more security and stability in vessels’ landings which may offset effects of less diversification.

Our results show that vessels that entered West Coast fisheries later are, on average, less diversified than those which entered earlier, but diversification declined even for the fleet of vessels active since 1981. Diversification declined further following implementation of catch share programs on the West Coast. However, year-to-year variation in revenue decreased post-catch share for the majority of vessels, including those who exited the catch share fisheries, and in most of the catch share fisheries, a majority of vessels received increases in average revenues in the years following the catch share implementation. Overall, our results suggest that there may be a tradeoff between the efficiency gains enabled by restricting access and the risk reduction benefits associated with greater diversification.

A manuscript describing this project is currently in press at Coastal Management (Holland and Kasperski, 2016).

Holland, D.S. and S. Kasperski. 2016. “The Impact of Access Restrictions on Fishery Income Diversification of US West Coast Fishermen”. In press at Coastal Management.

Kasperski, S. and D.S. Holland. 2013. Income Diversification and Risk for Fishermen. Proceedings of the National Academies of Science 110(6): 2076-2081.

+ Production Efficiency and Exit in Catch Share Fisheries

Ron Felthoven and Kurt Schnier

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Economic theory predicts that the least efficient vessels are more likely to exit a fishery following the transition from an open-access fishery to an individual transferable quota (ITQ) management regime. Tools are needed to help analysts predict the likely degree and distribution of consolidation prior to implementing ITQ programs. Previous research analyzing efficiency in ITQ fisheries has either relied upon data before and after the program was implemented and/or used a two-step procedure to model vessel efficiency, wherein the decision to be active following the transition is assumed to be independent from one’s prior production practices. This research utilizes a one-stage estimation procedure to determine the degree to which one’s technical inefficiency preceding an ITQ regime influences the likelihood of them exiting after the transition, which can be used for ex-ante predictions regarding the changes in composition after a transition to ITQs. Using pre-ITQ data on fishermen participating in the North Pacific crab fisheries, our results indicate that a vessel’s measure of technical inefficiency is a significant and positive factor in explaining whether it exits the fishery following the implementation of ITQs. This paper was published in Land Economics in 2013; volume 89(3): 538-557.

+ Cooperative Formation and Peer Effects in Fisheries

Ron Felthoven and Kurt Schnier

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The economic benefits that arise following the transition to a rights-based fishery management regime accrue on both the extensive and intensive margins. This research explores the changes in fleet composition, economic performance, and coordination that occurred following the introduction of the Bering Sea Crab Rationalization Program. On the extensive margin, we estimate the relative efficiency of vessels within each fishing cooperative to look for potential arbitrage opportunities when selecting which vessels will fish the cooperative’s quota allocation. On the intensive margin, we investigate the role of peer effects in facilitating the flow of information within the cooperative. The results support two hypotheses within the red king and snow crab fisheries: (1) the cooperatives which formed appear to have exploited the intracooperative efficiency arbitrage opportunities, and (2) an increase in landings by a fellow cooperative member tends to increase one’s own landings, a positive peer effect. This paper was published in Marine Resource Economics, Vol. 29, No. 2 (June 2014), pp. 133-156.

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