Economics & Social Sciences

Effective fisheries management not only relies on biological information about the resource, but also on social and economic information about fishermen (commercial and recreational) and other stakeholders. Economic information can include information on prices, costs, market dynamics, economic performance, and economic impacts. Social information can include demographics, individual and community well-being, community dynamics, and cultural importance. For many managed fisheries, social and economic information is not available or is only anecdotal, making it difficult to incorporate this information into the fishery management decision-making process.

The Commission has initiated several activities to improve the way social and economic information is incorporated into the decision-making process. These activities are guided by the Commission’s Committee on Economics and Social Sciences, which is composed of state, federal and university economists and social scientists. Specific activities focus on the following:

  • Inclusion of social and economic information in Commission fishery management plans and amendments
  • Conducting educational seminars to improve the usefulness of social and economic information by fisheries managers
  • Evaluation of methods to directly link economic data into biological stock assessments (bioeconomic modeling)
  • Development of policy issue papers to assist fisheries managers in making broad-based decisions on issues such as individual transferable quotas and cumulative effects of season closures, and
  • Development of social and economic data collection programs for commercial and recreational fisheries, as well as fishing communities. Data collection programs are incorporated in the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP) for implementation by Atlantic coast state and federal fisheries management agencies.