Economics & Social Sciences

Effective fisheries management relies on biological information on the fish resource, as well as economic and social sciences information on commercial and recreational fishermen and other stakeholders. Economic information includes information on market conditions in commercial fisheries (price and value information), as well as complementary information on recreational fisheries. Social sciences information is typically broader sources of information specific to commercial and recreational fishermen, their families, and the fishing community in general. For many managed fisheries economic and social sciences information is not available and is provided in an informal manner by fishermen during public comment periods. At times, this information is viewed as anecdotal and may be difficult to use in 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.