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Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Estimating Statewide and Regional Economic Impacts of Saltwater Sportfishing in Alaska

ESSR researchers Dan Lew and Chang Seung recently conducted a study in which the economic impacts of non-resident saltwater sportfishing in Southeast Alaska were calculated under a variety of alternative sport fish harvest bag limit changes for three of the primary species targeted in Alaska recreational saltwater fisheries: Pacific halibut, king (Chinook) salmon, and silver (coho) salmon. To this end, they combined a stated preference choice experiment (SPCE) model with a state-level computable general equilibrium (CGE) model of Alaska.

The results of this analysis were presented at the 2010 Western Regional Science Association conference, and a paper describing this work is forthcoming in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management. The findings suggest that the economic impacts resulting from changes in bag limits calculated from the CGE model are smaller than those from a social accounting matrix (SAM) model and that much of the economic impact from an increase in the expenditures leaks out of the state due to the state’s heavy dependence on imports of goods and services from the rest of the United States.

Given that the CGE model used in this study is a state-level model, it is not surprising that the economic impacts estimated in this study are modest relative to the overall size of the Alaska state economy. However, these results may understate the impact on coastal regions, as they are likely to be geographically concentrated on the coastal communities that are most directly involved with these economic activities.

To investigate these regional-level impacts, these researchers plan to conduct an analysis using the SPCE model results and a CGE model for Southeast Alaska to estimate the localized economic impacts of various saltwater sportfishing policies.

By Dan Lew and Chang Seung

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