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Resource Ecology & Fisheries Management (REFM) Division

Economics & Social Sciences Research Program

Collaboration With Southwest Region Economic Data Collection Project

The Manguson Stevens Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and other laws require economic analysis of proposed management actions, including an assessment of the local and regional economic impacts of such actions. For example, regional economic impact assessments are critical in meeting the requirements of National Standard 8.

Published regional economic data for Alaska fisheries are highly aggregated, and do not provide detailed and reliable information needed for regional economic analysis of Alaska fisheries. Therefore, there is an ongoing need to improve the regional economic models by collecting primary data.

For this project, contractors at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (UAF) met with AFSC economist Chang Seung to discuss important issues associated with implementing the project. Specifically, the participants in the meetings discussed the availability of existing federal and state government fisheries data, discussed how to disaggregate the harvesting sector, and agreed that mail surveys and interviews with focus groups from industry will be major methods of obtaining regional economic information (such as expenditure and costs).

After the meetings, the contractors examined the harvesting sector data that are available from the Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission files in order to develop a method to disaggregate these data. The contractors and Dr. Seung also discussed ways to validate survey results using some statistical procedures such as stratified sampling methods and associated estimators.

The goal of this project is to undertake those tasks in order to improve our ability to conduct the requisite regional economic analyses. A similar data collection project will be conducted for the Gulf Coast region when the Southwest region project is completed.

By Chang Seung

First Phase of Integrated Economic-Ecosystem Modeling Project Completed

Commercially valuable fish species are dependent on many other species and organisms dispersed throughout their habitat. Therefore, when formulating renewable fishery resource policies, it is important to understand the ecological relationships between these species. It is also important to understand how these fishery resource policies affect human activity and the economy, and how human activity affects these species in a marine ecosystem.

The objective of our project is to develop an integrated ecological/economic model for Alaska fisheries that can track both ecological relationships and human activities. The ecosystem model to be developed will be combined with a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model. Such an integrated ecosystem approach will provide more useful information to policy-makers than stand-alone regional economic or ecological models for fisheries, and better satisfy the National Standard 8. The resulting integrated model from this research will serve as a decision-making tool for fishery management actions.

The first phase of the project has been completed. The principal investigators (PIs) prepared a report for the first phase of the project in which the PIs, for the second phase of the project identified the breadths of the ecosystem and regional economic models to be developed, determined the data needs, and identified the data sources. A workshop will be scheduled for February, in which the issues and areas of improvements for the integrated modeling will be discussed.

During the second phase of the project, the PIs have developed a social accounting matrix (SAM) for the Alaskan economic CGE model, based on IMPLAN data (a commercially available set of data for conducting regional economic analyses). The base IMPLAN dataset necessarily underwent substantial modification due to deficiencies of the dataset. The 509 IMPLAN industry sectors were aggregated into four sectors, which include fish harvesting, fish processing, miscellaneous (a catchall for all other productive sectors in the state), and recreation and tourism.

During 2006, once the SAM is satisfactorily completed, the work will shift to refining the economic and ecological system models.

By Chang Seung


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