<Table of Contents> <Previous Section>



The research section provides the background research and analyses needed by the Commission. The section, coupled with the Commission's data processing section, also produces basic economic data on Alaska's fisheries which can be used to address many policy questions and to develop standard or specialized reports to serve the data needs of users outside the agency.

In 1993, the Commission's research staff was involved in many projects. These projects included efforts to monitor trends in Alaska's fisheries, to evaluate the need for access controls in particular fisheries, and to provide other agencies and users with needed data and analyses.

The staff produced analyses on issues for the Legislature, the Office of the Governor, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the Alaska Board of Fisheries. In addition, the staff answered numerous information and data requests from the general public. The following paragraphs provide brief highlights of 1993 activities.

Limitation Studies and New Limitation

Each year, as Alaska's unlimited fisheries face increasing fishing pressure, the Commission receives requests to limit entry into additional fisheries. When a petition is received, the Commission conducts research to determine if access restrictions are needed and to evaluate whether or not a license-type limited entry program would produce significant management, conservation, and economic benefits.

The nature of the fleet and the applicable regulations are evaluated to determine the extent to which limiting the number of participants will serve to contain the growth in fishing capacity. Historical fishing patterns are analyzed to determine the best way to define the fisheries for limitation purposes to help prevent post- limitation effort increases. Turnover rates in the fishery, and the participation histories of fishermen and vessels are evaluated also. In 1993, the Commission adopted maximum number regulations for the Cook Inlet Dungeness pot and ring net fisheries. This regulatory action occurred after extensive analyses and public hearings on the proposals. The maximum numbers include all persons who are known to have recorded landings in the five years prior to the qualifications date.

Another regulation was adopted which allows persons who participated in the five years prior to the qualification date to apply for a limited entry permit. Point systems for these fisheries will be developed in 1994 or 1995. It is currently anticipated that most persons who are eligible to apply will qualify for a limited entry permit.

In 1993, the Commission produced two reports in response to limitation petitions which had been previously received. These reports were The Southeast Alaska Bait Herring Fishery (93-1N) by A. Tingley and K. Iverson and Southeast Alaska Herring Spawn On Kelp Pound Fisheries: Hoonah Sound and Craig/Klawock (93-4N) by A. Tingley. The Commission has taken no regulatory action in these fisheries but is continuing to monitor them.

Analyses of other petitions occurred in 1993 but reports are not yet completed. The Commission's non-confidential briefing reports are available upon request.

Optimum Numbers

In 1993, the Commission adopted an optimum number of 46 for the Southeastern Alaska roe herring purse seine fishery. This number is greater than the original maximum number (35) and greater than the number of permanent entry permits which have been issued thus far in the fishery (45). Since six applications for permits are pending in this fishery, the total number of permits that will be issued initially in the fishery is still unknown.

The Commission was mandated to make an optimum number decision in the Southeastern Alaska roe herring purse seine fishery by the decision of the Alaska Supreme Court in Johns v. State, CFEC, 758 P.2d 1256 (Alaska 1988).

A denied applicant appealed a related legal issue in the Kelley case now pending in the Alaska Superior Court. The applicant in Kelley argued the Bristol Bay Drift Gill Net fishery is too exclusive under Johns, and, therefore, limited entry for that fishery should be eliminated. The State has briefed a number of arguments in response, including the argument that a royalty paid by permit holders into the general fund is a defense to such a claim. The State has further argued that entry permit fees, based as they are on the rates of economic return for different fisheries, constitute such a royalty. The Commission hopes for a ruling by the Superior Court in Kelley during 1994.

Distribution of Limited Entry Permits

In 1993, the Commission evaluated changes in the distribution of Alaska's limited entry permits by residence of holders. This is a topic which continues to be of interest to Alaskans and their legislators. The report Changes In The Distribution Of Alaska's Limited Entry Permits, 1975-1992 (CFEC Report 93-7N), prepared by A. Tingley and E. Dinneford, provides extensive data and information on the topic.

The report updates previous studies by the Commission. For analysis purposes, the report defines five resident-types relative to each limited fishery. These include non-residents and four Alaskan resident-types. The four Alaskan resident-types are based upon whether a permit holder lives in a rural or urban community, and whether that community is considered local or non-local to the limited fishery.

The report provides data on the 46 limited fisheries (50 permit types) for which permanent permits had been issued through year-end 1992. It covers the 1975 through 1992 time period and includes detailed information on the changes in the number and type of entry permits held by each Alaskan resident-type and non-residents.

The report indicates that there has been a net movement of permits from rural Alaska communities to urban Alaska communities over the time period. However, the Alaska resident and non-resident composition of permit holders has remained relatively stable since the beginning of the program. At the end of 1992, approximately 78% of all limited entry permits were held by Alaskans and over 50% of the permits held by Alaskans were held by residents of rural communities. The report provides fishery specific and statewide data on permit transfers, the initial geographic distribution of permit holders, changes due to permit transfers, changes due to permit holder migrations, and the year-end 1992 geographic distribution of permit holders. Data are also provided on the age distribution of permit holders and age differences between transferors and transfer recipients.

Detailed data summaries are also reported from the Commission's transfer survey. These summaries provide information on the incidence of transfers between family members and business partners, transfer acquisition methods, and transfer financing methods. Copies of the report are available upon request.

Halibut and Groundfish Data

The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (NPFMC) has passed individual fishing quota (IFQ) programs for the halibut and sablefish fixed gear fisheries in the waters off Alaska. These programs have been approved by the Secretary of Commerce and will be administered by the Restricted Access Management Division (RAM) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in Juneau, Alaska. An application process is scheduled for 1994 and the program is expected to begin in 1995.

During 1993, the Commission and other agencies worked to edit computerized fish ticket records for accuracy. The Commission's research and data processing staff worked with the International Pacific Halibut Commission to prepare an updated halibut data base. This data base will be used by NMFS for halibut IFQ purposes.

The Commission's research staff also helped the Department of Fish and Game edit the groundfish computerized fish ticket data base. Sablefish records from this data base will be used by NMFS for sablefish IFQ purposes. The groundfish data base will also be used in analyses of the NPFMC's Comprehensive Rationalization Plan (CRP). Work on the groundfish fish ticket data base has continued into 1994.

Analyses Of IFQ Plan Proposed Amendments

At the request of the Office of the Governor and the Department of Fish and Game, the staff produced several analyses of proposals to modify the Council's IFQ programs for halibut and sablefish. These analyses were prepared and presented to the NPFMC.

Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis For The "1,000 Pound Minimum IFQ" Amendment To The Individual Fishing Quota Management Alternative For Alaska's Fixed Gear Halibut Fishery was presented as a Draft For Council Review at the June 1993 meeting. This analysis was prepared by K. Schelle, K. Iverson, and B. Muse.

Environmental Assessment/Regulatory Impact Review/Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis For "The Sitka Block" Proposed Amendment And "The Full/Partial Block" Proposed Amendment To The Individual Fishing Quota Management Alternative For Fixed Gear Sablefish and Halibut Fisheries - Gulf Of Alaska And Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands was presented as a Draft For Council Review at the June 1993 meeting. This analysis was also prepared by K. Schelle, B. Muse, and K. Iverson.

After reviewing the analysis of these "block proposals", the Council voted to send the report out for public review with minor modifications. A Draft For Public Review was sent out in July of 1993. At the September 1993 meeting, the Council again reviewed the analysis and adopted a "Modified Block" amendment to the sablefish and halibut IFQ program. The amendment represents a hybrid of the Council's current IFQ program and a Full/Partial Block alternative.

Following the September 1993 meeting, NPFMC and NMFS staff concluded that an analysis of the Modified Block amendment needed to be included in the EA/RIR/IRFA analysis which is sent to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce with the proposed rule. The Commission's research staff has begun work on a Draft For Secretarial Review which will include an analysis of the Modified Block proposed amendment. This analysis should be completed and sent to the Secretary in early 1994.

Other Projects and Reports

The research staff produced monthly permit value estimates for the Department of Commerce and Economic Development and other users. The staff also updated basic information data reports on many of Alaska's commercial fisheries. Reports were also prepared on wholesale production and prices by E. Dinneford.

During the year the Commission's research staff produced many ad hoc reports for the Commission and other analyses requested by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Fish and Game, the Board of Fisheries and Alaska's Legislature. Among these reports, the following are available upon request:

Susan Shirley of the Commission's research staff also helped prepare scallop reports with Gordon Kruse of the Department of Fish and Game. "The Alaska Scallop Fishery and Its Management" by G. Kruse and S. Shirley will be published in Proceedings of the 9th International Pectinid Workshop. The workshop was held in Nanaimo, British Columbia in April of 1993.

<Table of Contents> <Previous Section>