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December 7, 2016
Contact: Shelley Dawicki
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Recipients Urged to Complete Business Cost Survey by December 15

NOAA Fisheries Wants Real Costs Figured into Management Decisions

Fishermen and fishery managers want to know how a management action will affect the bottom line of fishing businesses. To provide the best estimates analysts need detailed information on actual business costs. In August, about 2400 vessel owners in the Northeast were asked to provide data on 2015 business costs to fill this data gap. The deadline for submitting the information is December 15. While completing the survey is voluntary, NOAA Fisheries is hoping for a strong response from fishing businesses.

“Every response is important if we are to end up with sufficient data to reflect costs,” said Tammy Murphy, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center economist who is heading the survey effort. Recipients of the survey represent a range of fishing vessels sizes, gear types, ports, and species sought. Murphy stresses that survey responses are confidential and protected from disclosure by law. “To get a clear and true understanding of costs, there is really no substitute for what businesses provide to us in this survey.”

NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center has been periodically surveying commercial fishing businesses to collect cost data in this way since 2007, and last did so in 2012. However, this year’s response rate is running behind those of prior years, which were between 20 and 30 percent. This year’s survey is the first in three years and the next is planned for 2019.

Murphy noted that the survey has been revised after every cycle to make improvements, but it does take a little time to do a thorough response. “We are available to help people work their way through the survey, you can get a replacement mail-in survey if yours has been mislaid, or you can fill it out online,” she said.

Responses to earlier cost surveys were used to evaluate how groundfish vessel costs would be affected by shifting at-sea monitoring costs to vessel owners, and to evaluate economic performance of sea scallop vessels as revisions to that fishery management plan were under consideration. For help filling out the survey, those who received them can call or email the following:

Tammy Murphy, by telephone at 508.495.4716 or by email at

Megan Bailey, by telephone at 508.495.4717 or by email at

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