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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Estimating Time-varying Bargaining Power: A Fishery Application

Analysts from the Economics & Social Sciences Research (ESSR) Program applied an "unobserved components" approach to estimate time-varying bargaining power in bilateral bargaining frameworks. They applied this technique to the exvessel fish market for Alaska sablefish, which has changed management systems from a regulated open-access system to an individual fishing quota (IFQ) system over the time span analyzed.

The analysts found that post-IFQ implementation fishers improve their bargaining power and thus accrue more of the rents generated by the fishery. However, unlike in previous studies, the analysts found that fishers do not move to a point of complete rent extraction. Rather, fishers and processors appear to be in a near symmetric bargaining situation post-IFQ implementation.

By Harrison Fell and Alan Haynie

BSAI Crab Economic Data Report (EDR) Documentation and Data Quality Review

As directed by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC), a rigorous set of procedures for assessing and documenting data quality of the Bering Sea Aleutian Islands (BSAI) Crab Economic Data Report (EDR) database have been developed and implemented by ESSR staff and contractors. Following presentation of EDR data quality documentation to the Council in February 2008 by ESSR Program economists, the Council issued a motion directing the Pacific Northwest Crab Industry Advisory Committee (PNCIAC) to participate in a formal review of EDR data quality and documentation.

Dataset documentation (metadata) includes extensive details, including table and field descriptions, source tracking to identify EDR form tables across versions and data collection years, data field use guidelines, and data quality results. Data quality information is derived from annual third party validation audits conducted by the accounting firm Aldrich, Kilbride and Tatone, LLC (AKT) and extensive submitter feedback. To facilitate improved database integrity and documentation, ESSR Program staff have collaborated with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) to complete migration of the database from MS Access into the Oracle relational database environment. The result has been improved database structure and usability and the ability to complete formal database logic checks. The database has also been integrated with secondary datasets, including eLandings catch and landings data and Commercial Operators Annual Report processor output and sales data.

The validation audit process includes both random audits, based on a statistical sample of the EDR population, and nonrandom audits of EDRs identified on the basis of missing variables or outliers in reported information. AKT annually selects vessels or processors for audit based upon a statistical sample; for each vessel or processor selected for audit, detailed support is requested and examined by AKT staff. Variables for audit are selected from those that can be validated by documented support. For each data variable requested, AKT critically evaluates the support provided against third party support, such as invoices or fish tickets; internally-generated information, such as crew settlement sheets, general ledger details, detailed internal reports, or financial statements; and estimates made, including the reasonableness of assumptions.

Results of the audits conducted to date have indicated that documentation of support and accuracy of reported data have improved in 2006 and 2007 from the initial historical data conducted in 2005, in which data were reported for 1998, 2001, and 2004. However, despite improvements in definitions included in the EDRs, there is still variability in how information is reported based upon the ability to break down information in the manner requested in EDR forms and changing conditions and markets within the fishery. Variability in the quality of supporting documentation to information submitted in the EDRs has improved for the 2006 reporting year. In addition to providing quantitative information on data quality, the annual validation audit provides additional information for revising data collection forms and improving accuracy of reported data. Data collection for the 2007 calendar year was completed in 3rd Quarter 2008, and the validation audit by AKT for these data is ongoing.

In addition to validation audits, ongoing dialog between ESSR Program and Council economists and industry data providers has produced important documentation of data quality concerns and guidance for interpretation of individual EDR data fields. This dialog has continued more formally as part of the Council review process between ESSR Program staff and the PNCIAC membership. AFSC economists met with PNCIAC during 3rd Quarter 2008 and presented the draft metadata document for formal comments. The comment period ended 28 June, and replies to comments are being drafted and incorporated into the metadata document for presentation to the committee in September 2008. PNCIAC will report findings to the Council in October 2008 for Council deliberation regarding use of EDR data fields in analysis of effects of crab rationalization and potential management changes. In addition to providing the documentation required for formal industry review of the database, detailed metadata will ensure long-term integrity of the database and access the information in the EDR database by authorized data users.

By Brian Garber-Yonts and Ron Felthoven

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