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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Estimating Regional Impacts of Alaska Saltwater Sportfishing

Saltwater sportfishing is an important economic activity in Alaska, generating jobs and sales within related industries throughout coastal regions and the state generally. Two recent NMFS surveys have collected data that can be used to understand to what extent saltwater sportfishing in Alaska contributes to the state's economy.

In the first survey, data on saltwater fishing-related expenditures was collected by NMFS' Office of Science and Technology. The second survey procured trip-level expenditure data from Alaska resident anglers and non-resident anglers who saltwater fished in Southeast Alaska (SE) and/or Southcentral (SC) Alaska. In addition to trip expenditure information, the survey collected detailed information on fishing behavior that will be used to estimate the baseline demand for saltwater fishing trips in Alaska.

Based on data from these surveys, the economic impact of saltwater fishing by non-residents on the Alaska economy was estimated using a state preference model and a state-level computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. The estimated economic impacts are modest relative to the overall size of the Alaska state economy but may understate the impact on coastal regions, as the impacts are likely to be geographically concentrated on the coastal communities which are most directly involved with these economic activities. Therefore, as a next step, we began developing a "regional" level CGE model to calculate the "regional" level impacts of the saltwater angling-related expenditures.

Recently, using 2006 IMPLAN data, we aggregated the coastal boroughs and census areas in the SC and SE regions into a single region; aggregated the 509 industries into 16 industries; and developed a social accounting matrix (SAM) for the study region. A CGE model for this combined region is being developed. The resulting model will enable analysts to investigate the localized effects on coastal areas.

By Chang Seung and Dan Lew

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