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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Comments Sought on North Pacific and West Coast Fisheries Community Profiles

Community Profiles for West Coast and North Pacific Fisheries – Washington, Oregon, California, and other U.S. States has been released for public review in draft form. The individual profiles of 125 communities, along with introductory and methodological information, are currently available on the Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s (NWFSC) Web site at

The project is a joint effort between the AFSC and NWFSC, with additional support from the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. The profiles are being reviewed by community representatives and volunteers affiliated with the Port Liaison Project (PLP). The PLP, administered by Oregon Sea Grant and funded by the NWFSC, is designed to connect members of the commercial fishing industry with fisheries researchers. Other members of the public who are knowledgeable about these communities are also invited to read the profiles and send in suggested revisions during this review period.

This is the follow-up document to NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-AFSC-160, Community Profiles for North Pacific Fisheries – Alaska (available on the AFSC Web site at which describes 136 communities located in the state of Alaska with involvement in North Pacific fisheries. A large number of communities located on the West Coast participate in North Pacific fisheries; consequently it was more efficient to jointly profile these communities along with the other communities involved in fishing along the West Coast.

One hundred and twenty-five predominately West Coast communities were selected for profiling, from over 1,500 communities in the contiguous United States and Hawaii that had some involvement in either commercial fishing in the North Pacific or along the West Coast, or some involvement in both regions. The 125 selected communities primarily include U.S. Census Places from: Washington (40 communities), Oregon (31 communities), California (52 communities), New Jersey (1 community), and Virginia (1 community). All of the profiled communities except for one (Valleyford, California) had some involvement in North Pacific fisheries, either commercial, recreational, or both. The two communities, Seaford, Virginia, and Pleasantville, New Jersey, were selected for profiling solely because of their involvement in North Pacific fisheries.

The narrative profiles follow an outline nearly identical to the preceding Alaska profiles and include sections titled “People and Place” and “Infrastructure”, but distinguish between “Involvement in West Coast Fisheries” and “Involvement in North Pacific Fisheries.” “Involve-ment in West Coast Fisheries” details community activities in West Coast commercial fishing (landings delivered to community, processing, vessels, and permit holdings), sportfishing (sportfishing operators, license vendors and revenue, and landings), and subsistence fishing. “Involvement in North Pacific Fisheries” details community activities in North Pacific commercial fishing (landings delivered by community residents, crew member licenses, and permit holdings), and sportfishing (businesses and licenses).

Together with the Alaska profiles, this document provides a consolidated source for baseline social and fisheries information for the communities most involved in North Pacific fisheries. Consideration and analysis of fishing communities is mandated under National Standard 8 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The draft profiles will be finalized and published later this year.

By Christina Package and Nicole Milne

Database Updates

Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission (CFEC) fish tickets for 1975-89 plus 1984-89 Commercial Operators Annual Report (COAR) production data from the Alaska Fisheries Information Network (AKFIN) were added to the Economics & Social Sciences Research (ESSR) Program’s fisheries databases.

By Terry Hiatt

Southwest Region Economic Data Collection Project

Two contractors working for the ESSR Program (Hans Geier and Bill Hall from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks) conducted two focus group meetings to obtain feedback from Southwest Alaska fishermen as part of an ongoing Southwest Alaska regional economic data collection project (see AFSC Quarterly Report, January-February-March 2006 issue).

The first meeting occurred in Anchorage in April where contractors obtained useful comments from small boat fishermen on the survey questions. In the second meeting the contractors met with the members of Kodiak Draggers’ Association to get comments on the survey. The contractors identified the types of questions that fishermen are very concerned about and unlikely to answer. Also, the contractors learned that different groups of fishermen (small boat vs. large boat fishermen) respond differently to the same set of questions.

The results from the two focus group meetings led the contractors to delete some of the questions in the previous version of the survey, and to develop two slightly different surveys for different groups of fishermen. In addition to fishermen’s feedback, ESSR Program economists provided valuable comments to improve the survey questions.

The contractors visited boat builders and suppliers in Oregon and Washington to find out if they would provide the information for estimating much of the operating and ownership costs for different types of vessels. The builders and suppliers expressed willingness to provide the information. Using the information from the boat builders and suppliers, the contractors will estimate the cost information for an average boat in a harvesting sector.

Based on the estimated cost information for the average boat, the contractors will estimate the same information for all the vessels in the harvesting sector, by comparing factors such as horsepower, weight, gear types, etc. This approach will decrease the number of questions on the voluntary mailout surveys for the vessel owners, in turn increasing the response rate.

To estimate the population parameters (such as employment and labor earnings) using results from the mailed survey, a sampling methodology is needed. In this project, the entire population will be stratified into three strata or harvesting sectors depending on the size of the vessels and by the type of fishery in which the vessels are engaged. Within each stratum, an unequal probability sampling will be conducted.

The first step in estimating the population parameters is to calculate the optimal sample size for the entire population. Next, the optimal sample size will be allocated across three different strata. Next, the issue of differences between the sample sizes of the strata and the actual sizes of response samples will be addressed, and the population parameters for each stratum will be conducted using the Horvitz and Thompson method. Finally, confidence intervals will be estimated.

The goal of this project is to improve the ESSR Program’s ability to conduct the requisite regional economic analyses. A similar data collection project will be conducted for the Gulf Coast and Southeast regions of Alaska when the Southwest Alaska region project is completed.

By Chang Seung

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