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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Advances in the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation – Economic Status Report

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Fall 2014
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Each year the Economic and Social Sciences Research (ESSR) program documents and evaluates the economic status of the North Pacific groundfish fisheries. The results of this analysis are compiled into an economic chapter of the Stock Assessment and Fisheries Evaluation Report. The Economic SAFE gives managers and stakeholders recent estimates of economic variables in the fisheries. These data are compiled and distributed not only to inform management decisions but also to provide stakeholders and the public access to data on North Pacific fisheries. As the needs of management and stakeholders evolve, so should the Economic SAFE evolve to meet these changing demands.

This year’s 2014 Economic SAFE provides summaries of the economic status of North Pacific groundfish fisheries and an annual update to the economic data tables, economic indices, and figures in the market profiles. The economic data tables report ex-vessel and wholesale value; production and price; discards and prohibited species catch; and the composition of the fleet. These variables stratified along different dimensions such as species, region, sector, gear type and product type. This year’s economic data tables were expanded to include detailed information on economic aspects of the halibut fishery in Alaska. Furthermore, the small entity ex-vessel data tables 36-39b have been revised to reflect changes to the Small Business Administration’s definition of a small business.  In addition to the report tables, excel files are available on the ESSR website which provide longer time series of the data when available. Economic indices are presented that evaluate the economic performance through value, price, and quantity, across species, product, and gear types. The “Market Profiles” section has been abridged from previous years as work is underway to revise this section of the Economic SAFE for next year. This year’s Market Profiles section provides some historical context and displays trends in prices, volume, and supply for select products of pollock, Pacific cod, sablefish, and yellowfin sole. Finally, new and ongoing research and data collection programs by AFSC social scientists are summarized, and recent scientific publications are listed.

Last year the analytic content of the Economic SAFE was expanded to include new information on the performance and importance of specific aspects of North Pacific groundfish fisheries. These sections were updated where data for 2013 were available. The section Economic Performance Metrics for North Pacific Groundfish Catch Share Programs presents a set of indicators to assess the economic performance of the six catch-share programs currently in operation throughout the U.S. North Pacific. The section Community Participation in North Pacific Groundfish Fisheries characterizes the importance of fishery-related activity to the economy of Alaska and Alaskan communities. The section”BSAI non-Pollock Trawl Catcher-Processor Groundfish Cooperatives (Amendment 80) Program: Summary of Economic Status of the Fishery” summarizes the economic data collected for the fleet defined under Amendment 80 of the Fishery Management Plan.

New analytic content has been added this year to provide more timely information on the state of the fisheries. The section Alaska Groundfish First-Wholesale Price Projections estimates 2014 prices for select first-wholesale products using available data from related markets. Furthermore, first-wholesale prices are projected out over the next 4 years (2015-18), giving a probabilistic characterization of the range of future prices.

An appendix contains additional tables with secondary or ancillary economic data. Tables 16.B-24.B provide secondary information on ex-vessel prices and value which is derived from ADF&G fish tickets priced by the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC). This alternative method of ex-vessel prices is being analyzed in an ongoing project which compares it to the historical methods used to assemble ex-vessel prices and value Commercial Operator Annual Report (COAR) purchasing data (Tables 16-24). Tables R.1-R.4 present ex-vessel economic data for specific rockfish species which are presented only as an aggregate rockfish complex in the primary tables. Ancillary economic data that was collected externally is provided in Tables E.1-E.4: Table E.1 shows Global whitefish production and value; Table E.2 shows the U.S. export quantity and value of seafood products by destination country; Tables E.3-E.4 provide employment data of seafood workers in Alaska.

The Economic SAFE will continue to evolve to meet the needs of management and stakeholders.  We will continue to improve the structure and format of the document to make the information and data contained within the report more accessible. Furthermore, we will continue our outreach efforts by attempting to engage users of the Economic SAFE so that we can improve future reports. Readers of this quarterly report can contribute to our efforts to improve the Economic SAFE by completing the online survey  or by contacting

By Ben Fissel

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