Social and economic information describing commercial and recreational fisheries is critical to effective fisheries management. It can provide information on the economic and cultural value of a fishery, the well-being of stakeholders, or the socioeconomic tradeoffs of management actions. Economic information can include prices, costs, market dynamics, economic performance, and economic impacts. Social information can include demographics, individual and community well-being, community dynamics, and cultural importance. Fisheries socioeconomic data and analyses can be both quantitative and qualitative.
Coastwide socioeconomic data are often limited to prices, total ex-vessel values, and fishery participation information. Additional information may be found in one-off studies or individual state data collection programs. However, the limited spatial and temporal nature of such information is often not conducive to the coastwide analysis needed for management. Although data availability presents challenges, the Commission has been working to increase the use of existing social and economic information when making fishery management decisions.
Efforts to expand the use of socioeconomic information are guided by the Commission’s Committee on Economics and Social Sciences (CESS). The CESS is composed of state, federal and university economists and social scientists. They provide socioeconomic technical guidance to both the Interstate Fisheries Management Program (ISFMP) and the Atlantic Coastal Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP). The CESS’ duties include:
Accomplishments of the CESS include: