Social Impact Assessments, Data Confidentiality, and Fiscal Restraints: Addressing Community Fishery Engagement Indicators and Context in the Aleutian Islands

Wednesday, August 20, 2014: 8:20 AM
306B (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Michael Downs , AECOM, San Diego, CA
Stephen Weidlich , AECOM, San Diego, CA
Steve Lewis , Fisheries Analytical Team, NOAA NMFS, Alaska Regional Office, Juneau, AK
North Pacific federal fishery management plan amendment-related social impact assessments (SIAs) typically combine (1) community linked, sector-specific quantitative indicators of fishery participation and (2) quantitative and qualitative indicators of community fishery participation, socioeconomic structure, and sociocultural context informed by ethnographic fieldwork to analyze community engagement, dependence, vulnerability, and resilience.  For small communities, however, data confidentiality restrictions often preclude the use most fishery-specific quantitative indicators. This was a particular problem for a recent SIA addressing proposed endangered Steller sea lion protection-related area closures in the Aleutian Islands that would potentially adversely impact the regional cod fishery and the communities engaged in that fishery. Additionally, agency budgetary considerations precluded supplemental ethnographic fieldwork for this SIA (and ongoing fiscal constraints suggest that funding for in-depth ethnographic fieldwork in general will be less common in the future than in the past). This SIA case study, which focuses on the analysis and use of catcher vessel targeted trip related quantitative data, provides an example of combining existing ethnographic community information with innovative analyses to efficiently assess the vulnerability and resiliency of participating fishing communities.