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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

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

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Each year the Economics and Social Sciences Research (ESSR) program documents and evaluate 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 2015 Economic SAFE report 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; small entity ex-vessel data; and the composition of the fleet. These variables are stratified along different dimensions such as species, region, sector, gear type, and product type. Economic data tables also include detailed information on economic aspects of the halibut fishery in Alaska. In addition to the report tables, excel files are available at which also provide longer time series of the data when available.

The analytic content of the Economic SAFE begins by presenting a set of indices that evaluate the economic performance through value, price, and quantity, across species, product, and gear types. The section Alaska Groundfish First-Wholesale Price Projections estimates 2015 prices for select first-wholesale products using available data from related markets. Furthermore, first-wholesale prices are projected out over the next 4 years (2016-19) giving a probabilistic characterization of the range of future prices. The section Economic Performance Metrics for North Pacific Groundfish Catch Share Programs presents a set of indicators to assess the economic performance 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. Finally, new and ongoing research and data collection programs by AFSC social scientists are summarized, and recent scientific publications are listed.

This year’s Economic SAFE contains a new section titled Wholesale Market Profiles for Alaska Groundfish. This section features an in-depth narrative of the wholesale markets for pollock fillets, pollock surimi, pollock roe, Pacific cod fillets, Pacific cod H&G, sablefish H&G, yellowfin sole, rock sole. The profiles contain product and market descriptions, production and value, supply chain, key consumer markets, competing supply and products. The market profiles section in the Economic SAFE is an extract from a larger dossier Wholesale Market Profiles for Alaska Fisheries which contains additional details on the products listed above and covers an expanded set of species and product types including crab, halibut, and Atka mackerel. The standalone dossier Wholesale Market Profiles for Alaska Fisheries is forthcoming in early 2016.

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 the Alaska Department of Fish & Game fish tickets priced by the Alaska Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission. 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 from the 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; Table E.3-E.4 provides 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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