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Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management  (cont.)

Socioeconomic Assessments Program: Measuring Capacity, Utilization, and Economic Performance

Results of recent research were presented in a working paper titled “Effects of the American Fisheries Act on the Harvesting Capacity, Capacity Utilization, and Technical Efficiency of Pollock Catcher-Processors,”which was included as part of the SAFE report for the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. The study uses data envelopment analysis and stochastic production frontier models to examine effects of the American Fisheries Act (AFA) on the fishing capacity, technical harvesting efficiency (TE), and capacity utilization (CU) of pollock catcher-processors. The results indicate that fishing capacity fell by more than 30 % and that harvesting TE and CU measures increased relative to past years. This work provides examples of how existing data, which are currently devoid of operator costs and provides only general indicators of earnings, may be used to analyze changes in elements of fleet and vessel performance in response to management actions. 

Economic Status of the Groundfish Fisheries off Alaska in 2000

With a total catch of 1.8 million t, a retained catch of 1.6 million t, and an exvessel value of $565 million in 2000, the groundfish fishery off Alaska accounted for 44% of the weight, 16% of the exvessel value of total U.S. domestic landings as reported in Fisheries of the United States, and 51% of the exvessel value of all the commercial fisheries off Alaska. The value of the
2000 catch after primary processing was approximately $1.3 billion. This report was prepared as the economic appendix to the draft SAFE documents for the BSAI and GOA groundfish fisheries. The report provides estimates of total groundfish catch, groundfish discards and discard rates, prohibited species bycatch and bycatch rates, the exvessel value of the groundfish catch, the exvessel value of the catch in other Alaska fisheries, the gross product value (F.O.B. Alaska) of the resulting groundfish seafood products, the number and sizes of vessels that participated in the Alaska groundfish fisheries, vessel activity, employment on at-sea processors, and indicators of economic performance for select fisheries.

In addition to data from the groundfish fisheries, the report contains data on some of the external factors which, in part, determine the economic status of the fisheries. Such factors include foreign exchange rates, the prices and price indexes of products that compete with products from these fisheries, cold storage holdings, domestic per capita consumption of seafood products, and fishery imports. The estimates are intended both to provide information that can be used to describe the Alaska groundfish fisheries and to provide industry and others an opportunity to comment on the validity of these estimates. It is hoped that the industry and others will identify estimates in this report that can be improved and provide the information and methods necessary to improve them for both past and future years. There are two reasons why it is important that such improvements be made. First, with better estimates, the report will be more successful in monitoring the economic performance of the fisheries and in identifying changes in economic performance that should be addressed through regulatory actions. Second, the estimates in this report often will be used as the basis for estimating the effects of proposed fishery management actions. Therefore, improved estimates in this report will allow more informed decisions by those involved in managing and conducting the Alaska groundfish fisheries. The industry and other stakeholders in these fisheries can further improve the usefulness of this report by suggesting either what other estimates should be presented or other ways of summarizing the data that are the basis for this report.

Alaska Halibut Charter Boat Operator Survey

In cooperation with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, the AFSC has engaged a project to collect economic data from halibut charter boat operators. The purpose of this survey is to provide information about the economic performance of the halibut charter fleet. Currently, there is very little information available. The survey data have been collected; the response rate was 54%. This is a relatively high response rate for an economic survey of vessel operators. The data are now being entered into a database and analysis of the data will be completed in 2002. 

By Joe Terry.

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