Washington Commercial Fisheries Economic Value in 2006

Category: Economic Impact

Published: December 11, 2008

Pages: 28

Author(s): Prepared by The Research Group Corvallis, Oregon in association with TCW Economics Sacramento, California. Prepared for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


The Research Group (TRG) is providing this report to TCW Economics in partial fulfillment of a work scope contracted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  The WDFW requested consulting services to provide an estimate of non-Indian commercial fishing and recreational economic valuations.  The WDFW was responding to a request by Governor Gregoire in a July 11, 2008 letter to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission seeking information about the economic benefits from fisheries.  The WDFW set forth the following study objectives to obtain the economic information:

  • Identify affected non-treaty fisheries and their beneficiaries
  • Establish the conceptual foundation (net economic values and economic impacts) for assigning value to the beneficiaries
  • Characterize sport fishing activity in terms of catch and effort by species groups for the 2006 base year
  • Establish statewide economic values (net economic values) and impacts (jobs, earnings) associated with sport fisheries for the 2006 base year
  • Characterize non-treaty commercial fishing activity in terms of harvest by species groups and by port
  • Establish statewide economic values (net economic values) and impacts (jobs, earnings) associated with non-treaty commercial fisheries for 2006 base year

TRG had the responsibilities for developing the economic value estimates for the commercial fisheries while TCW Economics provided estimates for the recreational fisheries.  The principals that worked as staff or advisors for TRG were Hans D. Radtke, Shannon W. Davis, and Edward C. Waters.  The principals are grateful to Kari Olsen at TRG for her tireless efforts to generate the database queries and modeling results for the estimating procedures.  TRG appreciates the opportunity to work with Thomas Wegge and Roger Trott at TCW Economics on this project.

The commercial fisheries' study objectives are to provide economic value estimates for a small segment of Washington's overall commercial fishing industry.  The term of reference for the segment is Washington commercial fisheries.  The overall fishing industry includes businesses supplying goods and services to a huge demand created by harvests in other West Coast and Alaska fisheries.  The fishing industry also includes a complex seafood processing and distribution network that serves world markets.  The study report narrative devotes explanations and cites other investigations in an attempt to show the representation for the Washington commercial fisheries within the overall fishing industry.

Fish landing data and licensing information used in the commercial fisheries economic analysis were from the Pacific Coast Fisheries Information Network (PacFIN).  PacFIN is a database program sponsored by the Pacific States Marine Fishery Commission (PSMFC).  West Coast states, British Columbia, and Alaska fish ticket information is regularly uploaded to a central database.  The database assists fish management and enforcement for federally managed fisheries.  It also assists in fish resource research and investigations.  (Additional information is available at: http://www.psmfc.org.)  The data was compared to information supplied by WDFW in Year 2006.  There were insignificant differences in volume and prices, except for the species geoduck.  The geoduck volume was very close between the two data sources, but the price was considerably different.  It was decided to correct the PacFIN supplied data for this species to be commensurate with the State's information.  This resulted in the PacFIN summation over all landings to be $65.5 million harvest value, while the WDFW summation was $65.1 million harvest value in Year 2006. TRG thanks Brad Stenberg from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) and Lee Hoines at WDFW for their close cooperation in developing the data products.

The commercial fishing economic analysis was completed for one cross sectional data year to be consistent with the availability of recreational economic value information.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) completed their five year National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation in Year 2006.  This recreation survey results provides a wealth of information about fishing activity, such as trip and equipment spending, angler demographics, fishing area (saltwater, freshwater), etc.  Southwick Associates used the USFWS survey results to calculate fishing regional economic impact (REI) for each state in a study sponsored by the American Sportfishing Association.  There is more timely longitudinal (i.e. not periodic) information available about the commercial fishing industry, and trend characteristic information was developed to supplement the economic analysis snapshot information.

This report was reviewed in draft form to provide candid and critical comments.  This feedback helped make the findings of this report as sound as possible and ensures the report meets standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charges.  Although reviewers provided many useful comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse study findings and recommendations.  This independent examination task was done in accordance with accustomed procedures and review comments were carefully considered.

The authors' interpretations and conclusions should prove valuable for this study's purpose.  However, no absolute assurances can be given that the described results will be realized.  Government legislation and policies, market circumstances, and other situations will affect the basis of assumptions in unpredictable ways and will lead to unanticipated changes.  The information should not be used for investment or operational decision making.  The authors do not assume any liability for the information and shall not be responsible for any direct, indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages in connection with the use of the information.

Authorization is granted for the study report's contents to be quoted either orally or in written form without prior consent of the authors.  Customary reference to authorship, however, is requested.