Commercial Fisheries

The Social Sciences Branch conducts a wide range of research centered on the commercial fishing fleet, and associated markets. These studies assist NOAA Fisheries in assessing the costs and benefits associated with various management decisions, and help inform the public about the economic status of the commercial fishing fleet. This research directly supports NOAA Fisheries stewardship goal of maximizing benefits to the Nation while ensuring the long-term sustainability of all living marine resources.

Broadly speaking, our research is designed to gain a better understanding about the economics of commercial fishing vessels, fishing households, and fishing fleets. Some past examples of our directed studies include constructing fishing vessel capacity models, and estimating capacity for selected fisheries; modeling days-at-sea leasing markets; constructing fleet dynamic models; modeling fishing vessel productivity; and community supported marketing of vessel catch. The branch also has an active program to collect cost and earnings data from vessels to learn more about their cost structure, and to reduce uncertainty in economic models. Data collected through our cost-earnings studies has been used in fishery performance reports for the groundfish fishery, and will also be used as performance measure reports are developed for all fisheries. Other studies we have conducted include construction of ex-vessel demand models; surveying vessel crews and owners; modeling decision making behavior by commercial fishing fleets; industrial organization studies centered on excessive quota shares; and determining the contribution of commercial fishing to local, state and national economies.

Moving forward, our current project portfolio includes research in the following areas:

Lobster boats, Rockport
  • Measuring productivity for commercial fishing vessels and fleets
  • Community supported fisheries
  • Fishery performance Metrics
  • Ecosystem goods and services
  • Vessel safety
  • Bio-economic models
  • Ex-vessel price models
  • Constructing Fish Price Indexes
  • Impact of IFQ's in the tilefish fishery
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(File Modified Feb. 27 2013)