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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Fishery Income Diversification and Risk for Fishermen and Fishing Communities of the U.S. West Coast and Alaska

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Catch and price data from many fisheries exhibit high inter-annual variability, leading to variability in the income derived by fishery participants and communities dependent on the fisheries. The economic risk posed by this variability might be mitigated in some cases if individuals and communities participate in several different fisheries, particularly if revenues from those fisheries are uncorrelated or vary asynchronously. However, the ability of fishermen to diversify may be limited (or facilitated) by management approaches and regulatory actions.  

Continuing the work of Kasperski and Holland (2013), we are in the process of constructing indices of gross income diversification from fisheries at the level of individual vessels and individual fishing communities from 1981 to 2012. Our data set includes over 28,000 vessels with average fishing revenues of more than $5,000 (adjusted to 2005 values) and at least 2 years of documented landings as well as more than 200 fishing communities along the U.S. West Coast and Alaska. The large data set enables us to identify trends in diversification and relationships between diversification and variation in revenues despite the relationship being very noisy. We evaluate the relationship between annual variability of fishing revenues and diversification of fishing revenues and find a dome-shaped relationship between diversification and the annual variation in revenues for individual vessels, as well as fishing communities. This implies that a small amount of diversification increases income variability, but moderate amounts of diversification can substantially reduce the variability in income that individuals and communities receive from fishing. We also find a steady but moderate reduction in diversification over the last three decades for currently active fishermen, but no clear trend across all fishing communities. We expect to post our updated results in both the California Current and Alaska Complex Integrated Ecosystem Assessment web pages in early 2014.

By Stephen Kasperski

Bering Sea Tanner Crab Bioeconomic Model to Forecast Effects of Ocean Acidification

A bioeconomic model for the Bering Sea Tanner crab stock was developed to forecast effects of ocean acidification.  This model contains separate dynamics for juvenile and adult crabs and is linked to a bioeconomic model for Bering Sea snow crab. The model uses estimates of impacts of ocean acidification on juvenile Tanner crab from experiments conducted at the AFSC Kodiak lab.  Future impacts of ocean acidification on the growth and survival of juvenile Tanner crab could constrain the snow crab fishery and cause a wide range of economic impacts. We will link the bioeconomic models for Tanner and snow crab to a regional economic model for Alaska to make projections of these impacts for an ocean acidification scenario.

By Chang Seung, Michael Dalton, and André Punt


Measuring the Economic Contribution of Alaska Head and Gut Catcher-Processors

The Alaska Head and Gut (H&G) catcher-processor fleet is a major player in Bering Sea and Aleutian Island (BSAI) groundfish fisheries and was recently rationalized under Amendment 80 (A80) to the BSAI groundfish fishery management plan.  The H&G fleet has demonstrated an interest in quantifying its economic impact within Alaska and on the West Coast and the rest of the United States.  In 2006, an industry group commissioned a study that used input-output (IO) analysis to estimate the economic contribution of the H&G sector to Dutch Harbor and the state of Alaska.  However, anecdotal evidence on the location of input purchasing, repair and maintenance, hiring, shipping, and vessel ownership suggests that spillover of economic impacts to the west coast (especially Seattle) and other U.S. regions may be significant.  Consequently, we developed a multiregional social accounting matrix (MRSAM) model of three U.S. regions (Alaska, the West Coast, and the rest of the United States).  We estimated the multiregional contribution of the H&G industry and evaluated multiregional impacts of hypothetical changes in H&G sector production in terms of output, employment, and income. 

Results of the economic contribution analysis show that the A80 H&G sector’s $281 million of first wholesale revenues produced in 2008 generated approximately $1 billion of total output, and accounted for an estimated 6,800 total jobs in the combined three regions (including the H&G sector’s estimated 2,200 total employees).  Results also indicate that more than half of the impacts from the H&G fleet on total output and about 80% of the impacts from the fleet on household income accrue outside Alaska, and that the H&G fleet is relatively insensitive to changes in the world prices of its primary products.

By Chang Seung, Michael Dalton, and Edward Waters

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