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April-June 2006
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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Integrated Economic-Ecosystem Modeling Project

In this project, an ecosystem model (GEEM) is combined with an economic general equilibrium model (called a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model) to examine the relationships between the Alaska marine ecosystem and human activities. On the ecology component of the modeling, the contractors (John Tschirhart and David Finnoff from the University of Wyoming) rewrote the thirteen species ecosystem in Mathematica software which will make it easier to add new species to the model.

On the economic component of the modeling, they have worked to better develop their model of capacity restriction and rent dissipation in a regulated open-access fishery. In addition to the open access fishery model, they will develop a model reflecting current regulation in the pollock fishery, which will be incorporated in their CGE portion of the integrated model.

By Chang Seung

Promoting Key Economic and Social Scientific Concepts to Fisheries Managers

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service) has recognized that the agency will benefit from increasing the role that social scientists play in fisheries management. The number of economists and social scientists in the agency has increased significantly over the last decade, but in many cases economists and other social scientists have not adequately conveyed their insights to fisheries managers, the fisheries management council community, or the larger academic fisheries science and policy communities.

ESSR Program researcher Dr. Alan Haynie conducted a survey of NMFS economists and other social scientists about their opinions on priority topics for fisheries management. The survey found that NMFS economists have encountered a wide range of topics where marine policy makers have expressed confusion. The survey produced a range of responses, but several common themes emerged:

  • Biological and economic planning should happen jointly. A biologically well-managed fishery alone will not generate substantial wealth.
  • Opportunity costs matter. Just because we don’t pay for something doesn’t mean that it is “free” to society.
  • Confusion about the nature of community and national economic benefits and impacts is common.

Alan presented this research at the San Francisco NOAA Fisheries Social Scientists Meeting and at the International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) in Vancouver, British Columbia in June. Since Alan’s initial survey, Alan has been working with NMFS headquarters economists on a new initiative to promote economic awareness throughout the agency.

By Alan Haynie

Regional Economic Models Review Paper Published

Regional or community economic analysis of proposed fishery management policies is required by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Executive Order 12866, among others. To satisfy these mandates and inform policymakers and the public of the likely regional economic impacts associated with fishery management policies, economists need appropriate economic models.

There are many regional economic models available for use in analysis of fishery management. A number of studies have assessed the community economic impacts of fishery management policies in the United States using some of these models. However, there has been no comprehensive review of the regional economic studies of U.S. fisheries in the literature. Recently the paper “A Review of Regional Economic Models for Fisheries Management in the U.S.” reviewing these models and studies was published in Marine Resource Economics. By first providing a short theoretical overview of the types of regional economic models and then offering a review of the studies that have been conducted for various fisheries throughout the U.S., this paper provides guidance on appropriate model choice in certain instances, and points out which shortcomings, especially data deficiencies, are most crucial to overcome in developing future modeling applications.

One of the important conclusions in this paper is that, without reliable data obtained through a comprehensive and mandatory data collection program, it will continue to be very difficult to develop viable regional economic models for U.S. fisheries.

By Ron Felthoven

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